Sperry is doing its part to help the world’s ocean pollution problem.
The brand has had a strong connection with the ocean ever since its first model, the Top-Sider, was designed by founder, Paul A. Sperry, to prevent accidents on slippery boat decks—now the footwear brand is looking to help protect the seas with a new collection composed of plastic recovered from oceans around the world.
The collection’s release coincides with the announcement of Sperry’s new, ongoing sustainability platform, “Look Good. Do Good.” and will be the first major initiative for the program. The line will be produced in partnership with the Waterkeeper Alliance, an ocean sustainability NGO that will recover the plastic through its Ocean Plastic Recovery Initiative, and Bionic, a materials company that will make the yarn.
“We are a brand born of the sea. It is our duty to get involved and protect the waterways that stretch across the globe and connect us all. We are proud to work with Bionic and Waterkeeper Alliance,” Sperry CMO Kate Minner, said in a statement.
Featuring popular styles like the Authentic Original, the Captain’s CVO and the women’s Crest Vibe Sneaker, the collection will be wide-ranging and offer options for men, women and children. However, the designs for Sperry’s Bionic collection will differ from its more traditional styles and are, instead, inspired by “multi-colored sailboat sails with patchwork pieces and stitching details.”
Taking a truly holistic approach to sustainability with the collection, Sperry will package its ocean plastic footwear in shoe boxes made from 100 percent recycled paper material. The brand has also pledged to use only vegetable ink and water-based glue in its packaging, too.
And, that’s not the end of its efforts, either. Sperry and the Waterkeeper Alliance will also partner on a “voice-controlled experience” found on Amazon Alexa-capable devices. Consumers can ask for the experience by requesting that Alexa activate the “Sperry Waterkeeper” skill. According to the brand, the skill will offer helpful hints to keep plastic use down, such as recommending the purchase of a reusable water bottle and suggesting users not use plastic straws.
Sperry says its support of the Waterkeeper Alliance and Bionic will help clean up beaches and marine environments around the world, hopefully helping to curb the 8 million tons of plastic that find their way into oceans every year.
In 2017, H&M also partnered with Bionic for a line of apparel using recovered-plastic materials. Recently, Adidas announced that it, too, would begin producing more shoes using recycled plastic and the brand has also eliminated the use of plastic bags in its stores.
Sperry’s parent company, Wolverine World Wide, recently released its FY18 financial report and, despite poor performance overall, the organization credited Sperry with boosting sales for the group.