The athletic wear giant is teaming up with Massachusetts’ Siena Farms to launch its new plant-based running shoe, Forever Floatride Grow, which has been certified by the USDA. The style’s construction is made up of an array of flora, from sustainably grown castor beans, which make up the shoe’s cushioned midsole, to a breathable, eucalyptus fiber upper, a sock liner made from odor-resistant Bloom algae foam, and an outsole made from tree-based rubber.
According to Reebok product director Emily Mullins, the shoe is “made for runners who care about performance and want to feel good about the products they use daily.” The style is the result of much research and development to create a plant-based style that performs like other best-in-class performance sneakers, she said, and can “withstand running a marathon.”
“It’s an important milestone for sustainable performance,” she added, “as making running shoes out of plants is challenging because they need to withstand impact.”
Reebok was able to replace the non-renewable, petroleum-based plastics traditionally used in athletic footwear with plant-based compounds. “We expect to be able to use more plant-based alternatives for our products moving forward, and we’ll move fast in this space,” Mullins said. “We have a responsibility and opportunity to help the planet. It’s the right thing to do.”
The first 50 customers to purchase the style will receive not just shoes, but sustenance, Reebok said. Each shopper to buy a pair through the Reebok Unlocked loyalty program will be shipped a box stuffed with produce from Siena’s community-supported agriculture. What’s more, for each of the first 50 pairs and boxes sold, Reebok will donate a produce box to people facing food insecurity through Siena Farms’ community-sponsored farm shares program.
The Forever Floatride Grow for men and women will be available through Reebok Unlocked, Reebok.com, and select retailers beginning Oct. 1, and will retail for $120. The first silhouette is available in earthy neutral tones of Straw and Classic White.
“We conducted extensive testing to ensure athletes wouldn’t feel any difference when running in a plant-based shoe,” Mike Andrews, Reebok’s advanced development director said of the new style. “We focused on process innovation such as how we make things, who we partner with and where we make them and ended up with a really innovative and unique product.”
Reebok says its product sustainability efforts fall under two pillars. ReeGrow focuses on crafting products from plant-based materials, while ReeCycled aims to utilize recycled inputs. The company is focused on reducing its use of virgin polyester, and has committed to eliminating it from its material mix by 2024.