The Gist: Everlane is entering the sneaker market with a limited, “slow fashion” line of sustainable shoes that are meant to be worn for years, not months.
The Lesson: Sustainability is coming for you, sneaker industry.
The Whole Story: Everlane, a brand that is famous for its basics that are produced with supply chain transparency, is now giving their eco-conscious treatment to sneakers. The new line will be called “Tread,” and it aims to be better for the planet than the rest of the sneaker industry by developing a sole that is comprised of 94.2% recycled plastic and leather made at a factory that uses less electricity and fresh water than comparable operations.
Though these “completely carbon neutral” shoes are great progress, Everlane CEO Michael Preysman says it’s still not good enough and that the company will work toward eliminating all new plastic from its production process by 2021.
“The unfortunate piece is we’re doing the best the industry allows right now,” said Preysman. “We’re waiting for the industry to get there. It is really, really challenging to find the right materials at the right cost.”
The fact that it took two years to develop these sustainable sneakers shows how challenging it is to create an eco-conscious supply chain, but Everlane thinks this cost is worth it because they view sneakers as one of the most villainous examples of disposable fashion. Because new sneaker styles are released regularly in what the industry calls “drops,” kicks are publicized ahead of time, purchased in a frenzy, then discarded soon after. This waste-creating cycle is made worse by the energy-intensive process needed to make new shoes.
Based on reporting by the Business of Fashion.