Allbirds Wool Runner Mizzles
Allbirds Wool Runner Mizzles. Source: Instagram/Allbirds

Aliya Ladhabhoy

According to the United Nations, the world produces about 300 million tonnes of plastic waste every year. And this year, there is a surge in the consumption of single-use plastics due to COVID-19.
Apart from fashion brands becoming more conscious and thinking of circular design and production, sportswear and sneaker brands, too, are cutting down on their plastic waste, lowering their carbon footprint and positively contributing to climate change.
Here are some of the sustainable sneakers available today.
ADIDAS CLEAN CLASSICS
Adidas Originals Clean Classics
Adidas Originals Clean Classics
Sportswear giant Adidas strengthens its global commitment to end plastic waste by reimagining its classics in a sustainable avatar.
The Clean Classics collection, launched on September 10 in India, features some of the most iconic sneakers such as Superstar, Stan Smith, Continental 80 and Supercourt using recycled materials.
The brand has also re-thought pattern cutting, creating new cuts and details to reduce unnecessary waste. At the core of this pledge is Primegreen; a series of high-performance materials containing a minimum of 50 per cent recycled content. For this line, Adidas also uses old box materials that were previously unusable due to printing errors to create creative boxes with random prints.
The white sneakers retail at ₹8,999 at select Adidas Originals stores and on their website.
NIKE SPACE HIPPIE
Nike Space Hippie sustainable sneakers
Nike Space Hippie
Nike, too, is committed in its journey towards zero carbon and zero waste to help protect the future of sport. The Space Hippie sneakers released in July 2020, transforms scrap material from their factory floors into a new sneaker that has the lowest carbon footprint for Nike.
The Flyknit yarn used in the upper part of the Space Hippie is made from 85-90 per cent recycled content including plastic bottles, t-shirts and post-industrial scraps. The chunky soles are made from crater foam, which blends typical Nike Foam with 15 per cent recycled rubber. The cushioning is made from leftover materials from Nike’s top-tier running models.
There are also newer start-ups across the world that are creating sustainable sneakers.
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NOTHING NEW
eco-friendly sneakers Nothing New
Nothing New
Launched in 2019, the brand repurposes and reuses existing materials to create eco-friendly shoes that have a luxury, designer aesthetic. Merging sustainability with style, the sneakers’ uppers are made out of 100 per cent recycled post-consumer plastic. The other components are made from recycled cotton, fishing nets, cork and rubber.
Each pair of Nothing New shoes is composed of the equivalent of 5.6 plastic water bottles and uses 160 gallons of water less per pair vs. normal canvas sneakers.
The sneakers use true stitch construction over cement or vulcanized construction, eliminating the byproducts of chemical-heavy glue and sulfur emissions from vulcanization. They also give you a discount if you trade in your worn out Nothing New sneakers, for a new pair.
ALLBIRDS
New Zealand-American footwear company uses only natural and recycled materials including merino wool, recycled PET bottles, castor bean oil and recycled cardboard. They also use Tencel Lyocell, Eucalyptus tree fibre and SweetFoam, a proprietary innovation made with sugarcane in their footwear.
Sustainability is a core part of their production. Their shoes consume 60 per cent less energy, 95 per cent less water and half the carbon footprint as compared to a typical sneaker. Barack Obama, Leonardo DiCaprio, Emma Watson and Jessica Alba have been spotted wearing their shoes.
NATIVE
Native Plant Shoe sustinable sneakers
Native Plant Shoe
The vegan footwear company’s limited edition plant-based shoes launched last year, is groundbreaking. It is produced entirely from plant-based, animal-free components: a pineapple leaf and cotton upper, hemp and olive oil stitchwork, kenaf and corn strobel board/midsole, and natural latex outsole. What’s more, is that the entire shoe is completely biodegradable.
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