A Finnish startup has created what it is hailing the world’s first “coffee sneaker” made from waste coffee grounds and recycled plastic.
The company, called Rens, is soliciting preorders for the slip-on on Kickstarter, where it has raised $278,000 in pledges to date, or nearly 15 times its $19,000 goal.
Turns out, the byproducts of your daily cuppa makes for an “incredible flexible yarn,” one that is reportedly antibacterial and odor resistant. Rens further claims that “micro-pockets” in the fiber allow the outer layer of the shoe to dry 200 percent faster than conventional polyester. Coffee also allegedly has ultraviolet-protecting properties, which means colors “stay bright longer,” it said.
The brainchild of Son Chu and Jesse Tran, both self-confessed sneaker fanatics, the Rens shoe was born out a dearth of “cool, sustainable” footwear.
“Jesse and I are two young sneakerheads who felt like no one was making truly eco-friendly sneakers that looked good, too,” Chu said in a statement. “So, we decided to make one ourselves.”
Each pair of shoes comprises the equivalent of 21 cups of coffee and six plastic bottles, the company said.
Coffee also infuses the sneaker’s breathable yet moisture-wicking inner liner, which, thanks to something called AquaScreen Tech, renders it 100 percent waterproof, Rens said.
The shoe certainly looks cool. Available in range of colorways, each one features a herringbone-patterned collar, where the sneaker hits the ankle, along with a bold hashtag—Rens’s logo—on the face of the foot.
At least one footwear company might quibble with Rens’s “world’s first” declaration, however.
Germany’s Nat-2, which likes to dabble in quirky eco-innovations, has also employed coffee grounds and recycled plastic in its lineup. Nat-2’s lace-up version utilizes a patented material made from “recycled coffee, coffee beans and [the] coffee plant” for the upper, coupled with panels of faux suede derived from post-consumer plastic bottles.