Following its recent release of runners made from recycled materials, Reebok has given its popular training shoe the Nano X1 a sustainable makeover in time for Earth Month.
The all-new Nano X1 Vegan is 100% animal-free and features a minimum of 40% bio-based materials– materials that are derived from living or once-living organisms. Designed for high-performance, comfort and support, the sleek Nano X1 Vegan features a cotton and wood spun yarn upper, castor bean oil and EVA foam midsole, and natural rubber outsole.
“At Reebok, one of our goals is to create innovative solutions that will help build a fitter planet without impacting product performance,” said Tal Short, Reebok Senior Product Manager in a press release.
“We have a responsibility not just to design and create with our consumers in mind, but also planet Earth. Products like the Nano X1 Vegan are small, but important steps we’re taking towards our bold future sustainability ambitions as a brand.”
While sportswear manufacturers are heeding customer demands for more sustainable products, the footwear industry continues to grapple with issues around product durability and circular design.
“Most shoes these days are not built to last,” explained Tanya Hoskins, author of Foot Work: What Your Shoes Are Doing to The World. “So even if you wanted to keep them for a long time, that wouldn’t be an option. After four, six months, they start falling to pieces.”
Globally, an estimated 300 million pairs of sneakers are discarded every year. In Australia, 25 million pairs of sports shoes are imported into Australia, and only one percent are recycled.
Then there’s the issue of the fair treatment of workers in the supply chain. Reebok, along with its parent company Adidas, (the German sporting giant Adidas bought the American sneaker brand in 2005), received recognition for its “transparency” and disclosure of supplier policies and assessments, its manufacturers, processing facilities and raw material supplies. But any ethical fashion advocate will tell you that “transparency” does not mean “ethical”. Fashion ratings app Good On You noted that “there is no evidence Reebok ensures payment of a living wage in most of its supply chain.”
For the sportswear industry to see any real improvements in its environmental and social missions, manufacturers will need to focus on upholding fair labor standards, building long-lasting designs and make end-of-life solutions available and accessible to all customers.
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All images via Reebok.