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Dr. Scholl’s New Sustainable Sneakers are Made of Algae and Rice Husks

Dr. Scholl’s new line of sneakers feature a proprietary rice husk-infused outsole, which the brand said cuts down on the use of petroleum-based rubber.

The longtime leader in comfort footwear is now throwing its hat in the sustainability ring with a newly-released sneaker capsule for men and women. The styles are “crafted from heel to toe with eco-conscious, sustainably sourced materials,” the brand said in a statement. In addition to the husk outsoles, the shoes feature algae-based EVA foam midsoles, uppers made from 80 percent recycled plastic bottles, chrome-free leathers and non-synthetic, all-cotton linings. The complementary styles, called the Howe and the Herzog, each retail for $100.

“We were given the opportunity to explore every possible option to create more sustainable shoes,” said Andee Burton, the brand’s product development manager. “This shoe is our beacon of light.”

Earlier this year, Dr. Scholl’s collaborated with St. Louis-based rapper Mvstermind on a limited-edition men’s sneaker that tested the recycled bottle knit upper and algae-based midsole. Burton said the process diverts algae from ecosystems in China and the U.S. that are being negatively impacted by overgrowth, saving fish and other wildlife.

While the brand admitted that it’s at the beginning of its foray into sustainable materials, Dr. Scholl’s said it’s committed to incorporating environmentally-friendly elements into all of its forthcoming collections. The brand will also be reworking its packaging, and plans on creating boxes made from recyclable materials and soy-based inks.

Dr. Scholl’s said the recent efforts have already yielded measurable results. The company has invested in planting more than 6,000 trees, recycled over 8,000 landfill-bound plastic bottles, used more than 100,000 yards of sustainable materials and saved more than 1 million square feet of plastic.

“We understand that sustainability is a journey, not an end destination,” said Jay Schmidt, division president of Caleres Brand Portfolio, adding that Dr. Scholl’s has “continued goals for the future” when it comes to redefining both materials and processes.