Global fitness brand Reebok has unveiled its first plant-based shoe — the ‘NPC UK cotton + corn.’ The model combines the vegetable, corn, with cotton as the key ingredients used in manufacturing. The design of the sneaker sees the upper comprised of organic cotton and the base from industrially grown corn (a non-food source).
For the Cotton + Corn initiative, rebook partnered with DuPont Tate & Lyle Bio Products, who developed susterra® propanediol.dupont tate & lyle bioproducts provided a ‘pure, petroleum-free, non-toxic, 100% USDA certified bio-based product, derived from field corn,‘ used to make the sole of the shoes. In addition, the color is comprised of undid materials with the packaging 100% recycled, and the insole made from castor bean oil.
“Most athletic footwear is made using petroleum to create synthetic rubber and foam cushioning systems,” said Reebok innovation head Bill McInnis.
“With 20 billion pairs of shoes made every year, this is not a sustainable way of making footwear. We thought ‘what if we start with materials that grow, and use plants rather than oil-based materials?” he continued.
He further added that the shoe has undergone rigorous testing and development, and performs and feels like any other shoe.
Reebok president Matt O’Toole expressed that Reebok’s philosophy is to be more human, and sustainability is a core part of that belief. As human beings, we have a responsibility to leave this planet as we found it for future generations.
Reebok’s parent company Adidas has ventured into the world of sustainable footwear before, with its one-off Futurecraft Biofabric runners that were made from biodegradable silk biopolymers.
The cotton and corn shoes are now available online and are selling for $95 – in the same price range of the classic sneaker. Though the shoe is sustainable, it’s not yet biodegradable. Reebok is working on a second version of the shoe that will be compostable.
For more information: Reebok “Growing” Plant-Based Footwear