On Tuesday (April 4, 2017), global fitness brand Reebok announced the launch of its new sustainable products initiative “Cotton + Corn”, which will bring plant-based footwear to the market later on in 2017.

The first release will be a shoe with an upper made of organic cotton and a base originating from corn, grown industrially as a non-food source.

“This is really just the first step for us,” said Bill McInnis, head of the Reebok Future team. “With Cotton + Corn we’re focused on all three phases of the product lifecycle. First, with product development we’re using materials that grow and can be replenished, rather than the petroleum-based materials commonly used today. Second, when the product hits the market we know our consumers don’t want to sacrifice on how sneakers look and perform. Finally, we care about what happens to the shoes when people are done with them. So we’ve focused on plant-based materials such as corn and cotton at the beginning, and compostability in the end.”

“Ultimately, our goal is to create a broad selection of bio-based footwear that can be composted after use. We’ll then use that compost as part of the soil to grow the materials for the next range of shoes."

Bill McInnis, head of Reebok Future

“We like to say, we are ‘growing shoes’ here at Reebok,” continued McInnis. “Ultimately, our goal is to create a broad selection of bio-based footwear that can be composted after use. We’ll then use that compost as part of the soil to grow the materials for the next range of shoes. We want to take the entire cycle into account; to go from dust to dust.”

For the Cotton + Corn initiative, Reebok partnered with DuPont Tate & Lyle Bio Products, a manufacturer of high-performance bio-based solutions. DuPont Tate & Lyle has developed Susterra propanediol, a pure, petroleum-free, non-toxic, 100% USDA certified bio-based product, derived from field corn, which is used to create the sole of the Cotton + Corn shoes.

“The Reebok Future team was created to innovate not only the products we make, but also the process by which we make them. Cotton + Corn is another great example of this, and one that can have a long-term positive impact on the world”, said Reebok President Matt O’Toole.



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