Mar 19, 2018 | Updated: 09:54 AM EDT

Reebok Is Making Footwear With Corn, Recycle Old Pairs Into New Shoes: Featuring The Cotton+Corn Project

Apr 06, 2017 06:36 PM EDT

Reebok is growing shoes, and they are all set to flourish. The universal gear company will release a limited edition plant-based line of athletic shoes in the fall that will highlight a sole made using industrial-grown corn, alongside an organic cotton upper.

The Cotton + Corn eagerness is Reebok's work or effort to make a more sustainable and recyclable shoe, and post itself as an environment-friendly brand. "Everything that goes into this product is things that can be developed or grown," said Bill McInnis, who leads Reebok's innovation division, which it calls the Future group. That's in comparison to petroleum and oil-based items, he stated, which are "pulled starting from the ground, and not reusable.

Reebok's exertion is one case of a growing trend among shoe producers to consider the Earth. Nike has its "Reuse-a-Shoe" and "Nike Grind" programs, which transform old tennis shoes into surfaces for running tracks, play areas and weight room floors. Boston-based New Balance is a part of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, a gathering or collection of brands with a grandiose vision to produce "no unnecessary environmental harm."

 The Reebok company, which will move its home office to Boston in the fall, partnered with the manufacturing company DuPont Tate and Lyle Bio Product to come up the corn base for the new shoe. The material, which DuPont has trademarked, is called Susterra and was created from field corn. U.S. buyers spend about $30 billion a year on footwear, as indicated by StatisticBrain. That leaves a major carbon footprint from the manufacture of the items and their possible disposal.

 A 2013 MIT study found that making a couple of shoes produces around 30 pounds of carbon dioxide, equivalent to leaving on a 100-watt light for one week in a row. What's more, when that shoe is exhausted or worn out, Americans throw away an expected 300 million shoes every year, with the majority of them landing up in landfills.

 For Reebok, the Cotton + Corn project has been five years by this time, however, the company calls it just an initial step. The objective is to have more plant-based shoes that will be compostable. That way, shoe owners will have the capacity to say goodbye to their darling pair of well-worn tennis shoes without having left the smallest footprint.

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