Reebok Develops the First Plant-Based Athletic Shoe

Graphic Source: T.Thinnapat/GeorgeVieiraSilva41/Shutterstock
Graphic Source: T.Thinnapat/GeorgeVieiraSilva41/Shutterstock

Reebok took the vital first step toward creating environmentally friendly products by developing a plant-based athletic shoe as part of the athletic brand’s Cotton + Corn initiative.

Comprised of bio-based sources, the top of the shoe is made from organic cotton, while the sole originates from corn. It is expected to launch in the fall.

“Reebok is trying to clean up the entire life cycle of shoe making — from what shoes are made of to where they end up,” said Bill McInnis, vice president of Reebok’s Future Team, the brainiacs that developed the Cotton + Corn initiative, in a release.

The first-ever plant-based athletic shoe by Reebok will launch this fall

The goal of the initiative is to create an entire line of plant-based shoes that can be composted, rather than thrown out, when done with them. The shoe’s life would even continue on from there. Reebok plans to use that compost as part of the soil to grow new materials (read: cotton and corn) that can create the next batch of shoes.

It’s a continual, environmental-friendly cycle of developing, utilizing, and disposing of products.

“This is just the beginning for Reebok,” McInnis said. “We now have the formula to replicate this across a range of sneakers. This is the blueprint for a lot of shoes to come.”

The Cotton + Corn initiative focuses on improving the three phases of shoe making:

Development – Reebok is creating shoes from materials that grow naturally and can be replenished.

Use – Utilizing the company’s experience in the industry to design and create user-friendly shoes without sacrificing style or comfort.

Post-use – Instead of shunning old shoes to the back of a closet or throwing them out (where they later end up in landfills), Reebok’s plant-based shoes can be composted and used as part of the soil that encourages growth of natural materials, like cotton and corn that can be used to create new shoes.

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