Trainer sales are booming both in the UK and worldwide, with hot new celebrity releases coming thick and fast. Sneakers have become so embedded in popular culture that it seems the juggernaut of footwear fast fashion just can’t be stopped. However, even some of the major brands, such as New Balance, are starting to take a more sustainable approach.
As the COP26 climate change conference is due to take place in Glasgow in November, the sustainability of our consumer products has never been under more scrutiny. The British Fashion Council’s Institute of Positive Fashion has just launched the Circular Fashion Ecosystem Report, which aims to tackle a number of issues around sustainable production.
Which brands produce sustainable sneakers?
Converse are one of the most sought after makes by sneakerheads, and the company has weighed into the eco-debate with a product made from at least 25% recycled content. Named the Renew Chuck 70, they retail for an affordable £39.99. The trademark high-top trainer is a bright red, and the uppers are woven texture, with a marbled rubber sole.
Many shoes in Converse’s range use synthetic glue, meaning it is vegan-friendly; for example, the Chuck Taylor All Stars.
New Balance have teamed up with rapper Jaden Smith, who already has well-established eco-credentials, as GQ Magazine reports. For those not in the Gen Z age group, Smith is the 23-year old son of the actor Will Smith, and brother of Willow. Back in 2015, he founded MSFTSrep, a fashion collective which prioritises equal rights and the environment.
Smith has collaborated with New Balance several times in the past, and now they have launched the Vision Racer ReWorked. These sneakers feature the brand’s trademark chunky design, which is made from recycled materials. Released on Earth Day on 22 April 2021, the speckled light grey shoes are vegan-friendly and utilise surplus textile waste.
Meanwhile Adidas have teamed up with fashion designer Stella McCartney to create the Stan Smith limited edition women’s trainers. They feature a white vegan leather upper and bright rainbow gradient laces made from recycled polyester. Adidas’s iconic triple stripes are rendered with small laser-cut multi-coloured stars.
The liners are made from 100% recycled polyester, and the tongue features both Stella McCartney and Stan Smith portraits, the legendary tennis player of the 1970’s who arguably kicked off the all-white trainer craze. The heel patch features the signature Stella McCartney logo.
If it’s a high-end luxury brand you’re after, then Gucci offer footwear as part of its Off The Grid range which was launched this year. The unisex range are made from organic, recycled or bio-based materials. Check out the black trainers made from regenerated fabric, which feature a red and green stripe detail.
Prada are also making a big effort towards sustainable practice, with their Re-Nylon sportswear influenced range, which is made from regenerated nylon. The soles of the black monochrome high-top casual shoes were constructed from recycled plastic waste collected from oceans and found caught in fishing nets.