Just over one year into existence, the direct-to-consumer Hong Kong-based Lane Eight footwear brand — started by brothers Josh and James Shorrock, veterans of the sneaker industry, including Adidas — have taken on an all-encompassing shift to sustainable materials by choosing recycled and plant-based materials.
“Since we started this brand, there was one glaring reality that we knew we wanted to address and that’s the idea of sustainability,” Josh says. “Going forward, we’re proud to say we’re moving away from all animal-derived materials and will be using more sustainable alternatives while still ensuring our shoes perform at the same level.”
Lane Eight launched in August 2018 with the Trainer AD 1 sneaker, designed as a multi-sport athletic shoe with enough fashion sense to be worn away from the gym. The original design included suede, plastics and non-sustainable knits. The updates bring in vegan fibers, recycled fibers and recycled plastic.
The switch will start with a Dec. 11 launch of the Trainer AD 1 — $95 — in Mint and Birch colorways, highlighting colors found in nature and in the new materials used. Lane Eight will transition the materials into the pre-existing Trainer AD 1, new Trainer AD 1 colorways and additional 2020 sneaker styles. “The palette for Mint and Birch is no coincidence,” Josh says, “inspired by the natural colors from the environment where our algae are harvested.”
Josh says they’ve put a focus on improving their product — the AD 1 fit is getting a tweak too — and they knew part of that included creating a more environmentally friendly product, even if it makes creating new products more challenging. “It’s a little bit trickier to make a more eco-friendly shoe than to develop a shoe using traditional materials and methods of construction,” he says. “We are finally in a position to be able to re-develop our signature Trainer AD 1 with new materials that minimize our impact on the planet.”
The first thing to go, Josh says, was the natural suede paneling, a co-product of the meat industry. Lane Eight switched to a microfiber for the same abrasion resistance, but at a lighter weight. With the knit upper, they opted for an “upcycling approach” by using a recycled polyester yarn. The new yarn takes 11 recycled plastic bottles to create one pair of Lane Eight shoes. Then, the Shorrocks opted for an algae-based Bloom midsole. Bloom is already known in the industry for creating midsole from algae blooms that would otherwise pose issues to marine ecosystems.
Finding the right suppliers, though, did provide some challenges during the switch-over. “Consistency is always essential, but often difficult to find,” Josh says. “Transparency is also a must. Oftentimes, suppliers will tout a newly developed material without providing all the details of the manufacturing process.” He says that Bloom and Sincetech, the recycled polyester knit supplier, have proven open and transparent from the start.
While Lane Eight wants to make a switch to sustainability, they don’t want to lose performance along the way. The Bloom midsole allowed them to create a blend that included the properties of their previous midsole and the new knit upper “performs exactly the same as our previous knit upper.” The midsole, Josh says, features built-in “momentum” with a bounce and a plush feeling. Using an ETPU sock liner with pellets — not too unlike the Adidas Boost design — in a full-length setup allows them to design for stability without flattening out the cushioning. The outsole includes TPU sidewalls for stability and rigidness and a rubber sole for traction across multiple activities.
As Lane Eight pushes for a piece of the footwear market in year two, they’ll use a sustainable approach to make a mark, a sneaker mark with a smaller carbon footprint.
00Jon Van Drunenhttps://bloomtreadwell.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/bloom-icon-2020-04.pngJon Van Drunen2019-12-16 21:07:382019-12-16 21:07:38New Footwear Brand Lane Eight Turns Sustainable By Going With Recycled And Plant-Based Materials
Reebok is going deeper into the sustainability movement. The athletic brand announced in a press release the launch of its latest design, the Forever Floatride Grow, which is a plant-based running shoe made from castor beans, eucalyptus trees, algae foam and more. According to the announcement, the new style builds upon the brand’s sustainable lifestyle footwear collection, Cotton + Corn.
The Forever Floatride Grow—which will launch in the fall of 2020—is the latest initiative for the brand’s commitment to reduce its use of petroleum-based plastics. Taking its Forever Floatride Energy and reimagining it with a sustainable touch, Reebok spent three years researching and testing various materials and ingredients to create the most sustainable design while maintaining its standard for running shoes.
“With Forever Floatride Grow, we’re replacing oil-based plastic with plants,” Bill McInnis, the vice president of Reebok Future, said in a statement. “The biggest challenge in making a shoe like this was developing plant-based materials that could meet the high-performance needs of runners…The Forever Floatride Grow is the result. Plant-based performance—with no compromise.”
The shoe features a highly cushioned, responsive midsole—which is built from sustainably grown castor beans and was exclusively developed by Reebok with the Sekisui Corporation in Japan. The shoe also boasts an upper material made from eucalyptus trees, a sockliner made with Bloom algae foam and a natural rubber outsole sustainably sourced from rubber trees.
Sustainable preformance Reebok
“Our Cotton + Corn collection was the first step in making shoes from things that grow,” Reebok’s brand president Matt O’Toole shared. “Now, we have taken an award-winning running shoe, the Forever Floatride Energy, and reinvented it using natural materials to create what we feel is the most sustainable performance running shoe on the market.”
Reebok’s sustainability initiatives fall under its two pillars: [Ree]grow and [Ree]cycled. The former of the two pillars focuses on creating products using natural materials while the latter centers around creating products using recycled or repurposed materials. In addition to these efforts, the footwear brand has “committed to reducing virgin polyester from its material mix and eliminating it altogether by 2025.”
Our hearts collectively burst for the Amazon for two reasons: One was for the environmental and ancestral tragedy of watching an icon location burn, and the other for the fact that this 6 to 8 million square kilometers of forest plays a vital role in removing world-heating carbon dioxide out of the air. The longer the fires burn, the less natural air filtration the Earth will have.
But while the Amazon plays a vital role in global carbon absorption (and we should continue to try and save it), between 1994 and 2007, our oceans absorbed 34 gigatons of the world’s carbon through algae, vegetation, and coral. In other words, the trees might not save us—but the oceans could.
Solutions in the natural world will help right the warming wrongs of the human-made world. According to a new analysis by ecologist Thomas Crowther and colleagues at ETH Zurich, a Swiss university, there is enough room in the world’s existing parks, forests, and abandoned land to plant 1.2 trillion additional trees. These forests would have the CO2 storage capacity to cancel out a decade of carbon-dioxide emissions.
But other scientists aren’t as hopeful. They believe it could take hundreds of years before these new plants could scale back carbon-dioxide levels to the level the study suggests. The optimal time to plant trees to address our current climate crisis was decades ago.
Other challenges with forestation as a climate-change solution include the displacement of land used for farming, scientific and technological difficulties in measurement and monitoring, and limited public funding for carbon-beneficial land management, according to a World Research Institute (WRI) working paper. Planting as many trees as possible as quickly as possible could reduce nine gigatons of carbon a year—but it would also increase food prices by 80% by 2050.
Trees alone will therefore not save us from the current crisis. We must look to our oceans for solutions that are more effective and scalable. Say hello to algae sequestration.
Algae can be utilized in a number of ways to reduce carbon in the atmosphere. Other than it being the most efficient solution for storing carbon dioxide, it can be easily used in a variety of other sustainable and commercial products or materials, from tennis shoes to steel alternatives to veggie burgers.
Algae as carbon sequestration
Algae, when used in conjunction with AI-powered bioreactors, is up to 400 times more efficient than a tree at removing CO2 from the atmosphere. That means that while we are learning to reduce carbon emissions and augment our consumption patterns, we can start to make big reductions in atmospheric carbon. When wielded correctly, it could make a city carbon negative without changing current production or consumption patterns of the city.
Trees and algae sequester carbon dioxide naturally. Trees “consume” it as part of their photosynthesis process by “absorbing” carbon into their trunks and roots and releasing oxygen back into the air. Algae replicates the same process but “absorbs” the carbon in the form of more algae. Algae can consume more carbon dioxide than trees because it can cover more surface area, grow faster, and be more easily controlled by bioreactors, given its relative size. Bioreactors can contain large amounts of algae and optimize for its growth (and related sequestration) cycle in a way that is easier than trees and takes the overgrowth of algae, dehydrates it, and ultimately puts it to use as fuel or biomass.
Algae as food
Rebecca White is one of the rising aglaepreneurs in the space. She is a research scientist at iWi, a nutrition company that runs algae farms in Texas and New Mexico. Their mission is to accelerate algae’s potential as a solution for the food security of our planet. Population projections show that we will need a 70% increase in food supply by 2050 to feed the planet, and a recent United Nations report warns of a looming food crisis.
Population projections show that we will need a 70% increase in food supply by 2050 to feed the planet.
iWi’s two farms host 48 ponds, each about the size of a football field. They harvest the algae and turn it into algae oil, which is sold as supplements. They are working on turning the remaining proteins and carbohydrates into protein products with a commercially viable taste profile.
The Novotel Hotel in Bangkok is operating an urban algae farm on its roof in partnership with algae startup EnerGaia, a producer of spirulina-based food and supplements. Founder and CEO Saumil Shah started EnerGaia after first working for GE on an algae-based biofuel project in Thailand. He left GE to start a company using algae as fish food when he saw more immediate commercialization opportunities. He then moved to Bangkok and shifted to human food after his fish-food facility was destroyed in the Thailand 2011 flood.
The company raised a Series A funding of $3.65 million in 2019, fueling his vision to transform the spirulina market into a sustainable, accessible, and profitable solution for future resource scarcity caused by the world’s reliance on water- and land-intensive food production. He is banking on spirulina becoming a staple food item that moves out of the health-food market and into the grocery store.
Algae as material
Dutch designers Eric Klarenbeek and Maartje Dros use algae to create polymers that can be used in 3D printing as a replacement for plastic. “In principle, we can make anything from this local algae polymer: from shampoo bottles to tableware or rubbish bins,” says the firm’s project coordinator Johanna Weggelaar. “Our goal is to ultimately turn an industrial manufacturing process—a source of pollution that contributes to global warming—into a way to subtract CO2 from the atmosphere. Using algae as a raw material would turn any mode of production into a way to help the environment.”
Many other companies are already commercializing the output of algae fibers. One of the leading innovators is Bloom, a company that makes a foam from algae. This material is then used for shoes and surfboards, whose soles are typically made from petroleum. Some of their clients using the algae foam for shoes include Merrill, Adidas, and H&M. During the harvesting of the algae, the Bloom technology also cleans the water and puts it back into the freshwater ecosystem, resulting in 225 bottles of filtered water returned to the environment, and 21 balloons of CO2 kept from entering the atmosphere.
Algae as fuel
Algae can also be used to produce biofuels, which are fuels derived directly from living matter. This means it can provide a more sustainable alternative to carbon-producing fossil fuels, like petroleum. In fact, algae has been known to produce as much as 5,000 biofuel gallons from a single acre in one year.
The US Government first explored algae as a petroleum alternative during the energy crisis in the 1970s. It abandoned the project in the 1990s because they were unable to make it competitive with the pricing of petroleum. However, with the rising costs of oil and an imperative to find clean-energy solutions, both oil companies such as Exxon and venture capitalists are pouring money into solving the algae-as-fuel equation.
While progress is being made, the industry recognizes it’s a long journey to profitability. Algae oil extraction is a costly process and difficult to scale. The Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI) in Berkeley projected that development of cost-competitive algae biofuel production will require long-term research, development, and demonstration. Why not start now?
The challenges with algae
We need to consider alternative options that are planet-effective, not just cost-effective.
Scaling algae for biofuel production is not without its challenges. For one, algae growth is rapid and has been historically hard to manage and optimize. This can be addressed with new technology, like machine learning and AI, that helps to manage the growth process in order to ensure that growth happens through a managed and predictable cadence. Another limiting factor is the cost of implementation and the difficult road to profitability for many of these technologies. It’s been historically hard to convince people to pay more for something they can pay less for, and companies like Exxon and Shell have experienced this head-on with their stunt-filled algae-fuel concepts.
However, the time to be cheap is over. We need to consider alternative options that are planet-effective, not just cost-effective. We need more investible capital in long0term solutions that help to solve big problems. The current five-year investment cycle for most VC-backed companies is too short for addressing major moonshot problems like climate change. To make these solutions work, we need investment options that allow for more gradual profit return and longer-term planning, thinking, and execution.
Algae is an increasingly viable alternative for many costly climate-change solutions. Next-generation companies are recognizing this opportunity and investing now, but it’s also something that everyday people can consider as they look to reduce their impact on the environment.
Every little bit helps. In addition to going out there and planting a tree, partaking in an ocean clean-up, or working for companies that are making progressive changes for our world, look to algae as a potential food resource, consider the purchase of products created with algae, and support local and federal efforts to adopt algae methods of carbon absorption and sequestration.
The world’s problems can be solved by two things: collective action, and human-first technology that improves upon dated ways of doing things. Everyone can be a part of change and support those companies leading the way.
License and Republishing
00Jon Van Drunenhttps://bloomtreadwell.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/bloom-icon-2020-04.pngJon Van Drunen2019-11-27 17:33:192019-11-27 17:33:19The solution to fighting climate change could be lurking in our oceans
Canadian footwear brand Call it Spring introduces new, sustainable styles for the autumn / winter season. This is the brand’s first sustainable collection and consists of styles abricated with innovative materials such as jersey fabric made of recycled water bottles, insoles made from an innovative algae-based material, and eco vegan leathers.
Call it Spring tells us the sustainable vegan styles will be available in-store and online from noon, tomorrow October 30th.
Some of the sustainable materials in these styles include:
All vegan suedes and polyester linings within Call It Spring’s sustainable product offerings are made with recycled, post-consumer plastic water bottles. By shopping these styles, consumers can help to keep 295,629 plastic bottles out of landfills and our oceans.
Insoles in these styles are made of BLOOM™ foam, a sustainable algae-based material that helps support biodiversity in our rivers and lakes.
This collection of styles has helped to clean and replenish over 1 million litres of water in rivers and lakes.
Made by the innovative organization BLOOM™, this material is a sustainable alternative to non-renewable petroleum-based foams. For more information, visit bloomfoam.com
Eco vegan leather
This collection is made with eco-conscious vegan leather (PU), a material that uses less energy to create than standard vegan leathers and is made using fewer chemicals.
These styles have helped to save over 58 tonnes of CO2, or the equivalent of driving a car around the earth five times.
Call It Spring’s sustainable collection of shoes and accessories are available to purchase at all Call It Spring locations in the US, Canada, internationally and online at callitspring.com.
00Jon Van Drunenhttps://bloomtreadwell.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/bloom-icon-2020-04.pngJon Van Drunen2019-11-01 14:03:532019-11-01 14:03:53ALDO Launches First Sustainable & Vegan Collection – Call It Spring
There’s no wonder this all-terrain sneaker brand raised close to $4 million on Kickstarter.
No matter what time of the year you’re heading off to your next adventure, there’s one mantra you should always follow: “Pack comfy shoes.” Whether you opt to wear a jumpsuit or leggings for your travel outfit, you can’t head out without your trusty pair of shoes, which is something I’ve learned after years of travel — having a comfortable pair of shoes is key for any travel hiccups that may arise.
Before traveling to the Bahamas this summer, I was on the hunt for a lightweight sneaker that I could wear on the plane, walking around town, and for long walks on the beach (yes, I made myself get up to enjoy sunrise strolls). When I came across Tropicfeel’s Monsoon sneaker, a four-in-one shoe, I was intrigued by the fact that it had so many uses. It’s a super versatile sneaker that’s quick-drying as a water shoe, comfortable enough for a walking shoe, durable enough for a hiking shoe, and stylish enough for a street shoe — I was sold.
Tropicfeel’s first iteration of its sneaker raised nearly $4 million on Kickstarter in 2018, is one of the most-funded shoe campaigns, and has quickly made headlines as a customer favorite when it comes to all-terrain travel shoes. Part of Tropicfeel’s mission is also to manufacture its products with materials that cause the least amount of harm to the environment, so the fabric on each pair of Monsoons is actually made from three recycled plastic water bottles and the insole is made of algae.
COURTESY OF TROPICFEEL
Outfitted with Sciessent Curb, a type of fluorine-free water repellent, the Monsoon sneakers are essentially water resistant, allowing them to dry faster than most sneakers. When it was finally time to put them to the test during my beach walks, I was totally impressed. While I could have gone barefoot on the beach, I wanted more support on my long walks and definitely didn’t want to wear my normal sneakers (which aren’t waterproof). Each time I stopped for a break to soak my feet in the ocean, the shoes were almost completely dry within 10 minutes. It might have been the powerful Bahamas sun beating down, but the Monsoon sneakers easily live up to their quick-drying hype.
And not only are these sneakers still comfortable when they’re wet, you don’t necessarily have to wear socks with them. Made with an elastic heel versus a typical foam heel, they’re easier than most sneakers to slip on and off, and they are proven to be odorless (even after significant wear!) thanks to built-in Agion technology that works to keep bacteria, mildew, and odor at bay. Plus, gone are the days you have to reach down and retie your shoes: The Monsoon sneakers have knot-stopping sprint laces, which are short, spring-like laces that have their own tightening mechanism. Weighing a mere seven ounces, these are a pair of reliable shoes I can easily keep in my carry-on backpack in case I need a change of shoes.
With more than 800 five-star reviews and counting, these are the travel sneakers you’re going to start seeing everywhere.Shop the Monsoon sneakers, available in five stylish colorways, below.
00Jon Van Drunenhttps://bloomtreadwell.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/bloom-icon-2020-04.pngJon Van Drunen2019-10-16 18:53:102019-10-16 18:53:10This Quick-drying, Odorless 4-in-1 Sneaker Is the Only Pair of Shoes You Need for Your Next Adventure
Beer drinkers with a trail-running problem, make note: Merrell just released a new limited-edition version of its Agility Synthesis Flex trail shoe in collaboration with Dogfish Head. Now fans of the craft beer label’s SeaQuench Ale—a salty, lime sour that goes down like boozy Gatorade after a sweaty workout—can match their shoes to their post-run beer. Or perhaps just fantasize about said beer every time they look down while scrambling up a rocky incline? Whatever it takes to keep you motivated in this sticky, end-of-summer heat.
Designed to resemble SeaQuench Ale’s sea-foam green can, the co-branded shoe packs all the features that made the original trail runner a top pick for technical terrain, like a flexible midsole, hard toe cap, and sticky rubber outsole. But this time around, Merrell added even more sustainable ingredients. Two water bottles-worth of recycled material went into crafting the mesh upper. The midsole was made with 10-percent algae foam instead of petroleum, and the lugged outsole uses 30-percent recycled rubber.
COURTESY OF MERRELL
If the partnership strikes you as odd, know that it was partially motivated by the two brands’ shared interest in conservation and the outdoors. To cap off the eco-friendliness of the shoe collaboration, Merrell will donate $10,000 to the Conservation Alliance to protect lands for both trail running and wildlife.
Check out the Merrell X Dogfish Head trail shoes now at merrell.com and other sellers for $110. Or crack open a SeaQuench Ale the next time you’re thirsty after a hot run and filling your hydration pack with margarita mix starts to sound like a good idea.
00Jon Van Drunenhttps://bloomtreadwell.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/bloom-icon-2020-04.pngJon Van Drunen2019-10-16 16:50:172019-10-16 16:50:17Beer-Loving Trail Runners, Rejoice: The Merrell Agility Synthesis X Dogfish Head
Pond scum. It’s the kind of thing you’d call your worst enemy when no other description could communicate just how slimy and ‘eugh’ you find them. That layer of gross green on top of the backyard koi pond you’ve been meaning to clean forms from an explosion of algae growth in the water, fuelled by an imbalance of nutrients. The bad news is that your ornamental fish might not have survived the infestation. The worse news is that out-of-control algae growth is a much more far-reaching problem.
The rapid and imbalanced growth of algae is commonly referred to as harmful algae blooms, and it’s become an increasingly regular occurrence in freshwater systems and the ocean alike. Agricultural runoff loaded with fertilizers, sewage pollution and rising sea temperatures have all added to the regularity of algae blooms in the sea. These toxic ‘red tides’ affect multiple areas around the US, with Florida being particularly heavily impacted. Freshwater habitats are also at significant risk, with algae growth choking and poisoning delicately balanced ecosystems (the WWF Living Planet Report shows that freshwater ecosystems are the most threatened of all on Earth, and algae blooms are a significant problem). The good news is that with the right initiative and intervention, we can help solve the problem, thanks to the work of our friends at BLOOM.
The WWF Living Planet Report shows that freshwater ecosystems are the most threatened of all on Earth.
Turning a problem into a solution:
BLOOM uses algae to make high-performance foams, like the material we use in our supportive summer sandals. They filter algae from water, dry it out, turn it into pellets and then turn those pellets into foam that’s just as cushioning and durable as the purely petroleum-based materials used by most footwear manufacturers. Thanks to its natural thermoplastic qualities, algae, an incredibly abundant natural material, can be used to partially take the place of environmentally harmful petrochemicals. It’s quite a remarkable innovation when you really think about it. It takes a serious ecological threat, a real problem, and gives an innovative solution to that problem. At the same time it creates a partial solution to another, separate but related problem that we as people face: our widespread reliance of fossil fuels and harmful petrochemical based materials.
The end result is that BLOOM’s algae-based foams have up to 40% less impact on the environment than purely petroleum-based equivalents. They also require 35% less energy to process and produce. Once the algae has been removed, filtered water is returned to the original source, helping restore balance to the ecosystem previously threatened by the uncontrolled algae growth.
BLOOM’s co-founder and CTO, Ryan Hunt, had the following to say: “Algae blooms are increasing in frequency and intensity due to a variety of human-induced factors. We at Bloom turn this negative into a positive by harvesting and transforming the algae blooms into bio-materials that can be used to improve the sustainability of footwear products. Together as a footwear community, we have the opportunity to leave a positive impact as shown through our partnership with SOLE. ”
Doing everything we can to reduce and minimize our environmental footprint is essential to what we’re doing at SOLE. That’s why we use Bloom Algae Foam in all of our sandals that don’t use ReCORK recycled cork. We also have a Bloom Algae Foam insole in the footwear coming in the fall of this year, including the Jasper Wool Eco Chukka, the world’s most eco-friendly shoe.
00Jon Van Drunenhttps://bloomtreadwell.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/bloom-icon-2020-04.pngJon Van Drunen2019-10-16 16:37:272019-10-16 16:37:27BLOOM Foam sandals: flipping the script on harmful algae blooms.
Many outdoor and environmentally conscious brands have been utilizing Bloom, a plant-based foam made from algae, in their products to tackle climate change effects and lower their carbon footprint in the production process. We shared the details on Native Shoes’ Plant Shoe in June and we were stunned by its appearance, durability, and overall comfort. Now, the “live lightly” gurus at Native are pointing their feet towards another sustainable project that reimagines the brand’s bestselling slip-on design: the Native Shoes Jefferson Bloom.
The Jefferson Bloom — a“sustainable Croc,” if you will — is the second member of Native’s sustainable line. The company is searching for materials that are better for the Earth and on its way to the goal of being 100% lifecycle-managed by 2023.
All 50 U.S. states and many other countries around the world are struggling with the toxic algae bloom epidemics in lakes due to rising temperatures and increased runoff pollution. The toxic algae not only affects activities such as fishing and water sports, but these lakes, rivers, and reservoirs are essential sources of fresh drinking water for millions of people. The Bloom foam was created to help curb the growing issue by gathering algae and turning it into a strong and viable material for a shoe sole. The process also contributes to supporting our freshwater systems as Bloom results in an estimated 225 bottles of filtered water returned to natural habitats and reduces the amount of C02 released into the atmosphere.
Native Shoes is the first brand to utilize all of Bloom’s unique material throughout the shoe’s entire construction rather than for just a partial component of the design. It’s an extremely comfortable assembly, boasting enhanced support, a lightweight feel, and a surprising amount of style considering it’s a Croc-like foam shoe. The Jefferson is also extremely breathable, odor-resistant, shock absorbent, durable, and easily hand-washable. On top of that, each shoe cleans 80 liters of water and keeps the equivalent of 15 balloons (literally) of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.
Native Shoes has plans to add additional styles to its sustainable family, which includes a redesign of its sole-flattering pointed toe shoe, The Audrey, in spring 2020. However, climate change and plastic waste won’t wait for us, so why wait to promote and support more sustainable business practices?
00Jon Van Drunenhttps://bloomtreadwell.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/bloom-icon-2020-04.pngJon Van Drunen2019-10-16 15:48:482019-10-16 15:48:48Native Shoes Jefferson Bloom Turns Algae Into Sustainable, Stylish Footwear
ROCKFORD, Mich. (July 23, 2019) – Merrell, the brand that exists to give you all you really need to discover the simple yet profound power of the trail, has launched their most sustainable trail runner to date: The Bare Access XTR Sweeper. The Sweeper features recycled materials wherever possible and celebrates an under-the-radar community that’s helping to keep our wild lands wild.
Along with recycled laces, linings and footbeds, the trail runners utilize a BLOOM® performance midsole foam made of 10% recycled algae that transforms green water into clean water in the process. Additionally, the outsole is made from Vibram® EcoDura, derived from 30% recycled, post-manufacturing scraps.
The name of the shoe is derived from the community of “Sweepers” that attend trail runs, such as Ragnar Trail Series, and pick up stray flags and random items inadvertently left on the trail, returning the course to its pristine, pre-race state. To showcase their important efforts, Merrell launched a short film highlighting the group.
“The volunteers who sweep race courses after a trail race are essential to making sure people can enjoy the trails for years to come,” says Erika Derylo, Brand Manager for Trail Run at Merrell. “They often fly under the radar, and so this shoe was really meant to be a way to shine a light on all that they do and thank them for giving up their time to give back to the outdoor community.”
An evolution of the Bare Access collection, the Bare Access XTR Sweeper is a 0mm drop trail runner featuring FLEXConnect™ dual-directional flex-grooves, a Hyperlock™ TPU heel counter, and Merrell’s Barefoot 2 construction.
The Bare Access XTR Sweeper is available now on Merrell.com and select retail in men’s and women’s, with an MSRP of $110.
Watch the film featuring the Bare Access XTR Sweeper on our YouTube channel.
David Bensadoun doesn’t want ALDO Group to just sell shoes.
Instead, the chief executive officer says he hopes the Montreal-headquartered company goes beyond footwear and accessories to inspire — both the company’s customer base and its industry peers.
“I want us to inspire love, confidence and belonging in everything we do, through all the products we sell and the services we offer,” Bensadoun explains. Oh, and he also wants to protect the environment, while he’s at it. Bensadoun recently chatted with Postmedia News to explain what that means, how they’re doing it — and what’s next.
Q. ALDO has made several recent announcements about increasing its sustainable ambitions. What can you share about this?
A. 2019 is a big year for us in terms of our sustainability efforts, but the ALDO Group has been working on corporate responsibility initiatives over several decades. Most people don’t know but 2010 was when we started launching initiatives to reduce waste and energy consumption. In 2016, we reviewed our progress, did a materiality assessment to determine where were our biggest impacts and set ourselves some ambitious goals to reach by 2022. Our teams have been working very hard to be sustainable at every touch point in our business and this is the year we started sharing our CSR story in a bigger way.
Q. What are some of the new initiatives?
A. In April we launched a partnership with Give Back Box. The program provides a platform for ALDO ecommerce customers to donate old shoes, clothing, handbags and other goods to charities by reusing their ALDO shoebox — or any box — and prepaid shipping label.
We announced (in August) that we were breaking up with single-use shopping bags, saving over eight million bags annually. We are currently phasing out our paper and plastic shoppers to free our customers from needing a bag, and simply using our box. It’s eco designed with a built-in rope and made from 80 per cent post consumer recycled materials.
And on August 26, ALDO launched its very first sustainable sneaker — The RPPL, pronounced ripple. We were able to utilize a sole formulated with BLOOM Foam, an innovative, carbon-neutral raw material derived from lake algae biomass. What’s amazing about BLOOM Foam is that it turns harmful algae overgrowth into a sustainable alternative to traditional textiles.The RPPL is also constructed with recycled plastic bottle yarn, made from three to six plastic bottles. It’s a pretty big step for us and I’m excited for the brand to now be in a position where we can offer this kind of product to our customers. It’s our first collection and definitely not our last. Coming in September, we’re making another exciting announcement related to our climate neutrality efforts. Can’t say more for now!
Q. And why is this so important to the company?
A. Not many people may know this, but we’ve been leaders in sustainable changes — it’s just something we haven’t talked a lot about until now. Change needs to start from within and it was important for me that we get it right internally, before those changes impact our customers directly. Ultimately, it’s our goal to make it easy for our customers to stay fashionable and to ‘choose good’.
The ALDO Group is the first fashion footwear and accessories company to be certified climate neutral and this is something we’re so proud of. We’re always exploring different ways to reduce our environmental impact and I want to make sure that as a group, we continuously challenge ourselves and those in the industry to explore even more ways to advance sustainability.
Q. How, if at all, does being a Canadian company influence the green perspective?
A. I’m proud to be Canadian. Our company’s purpose is inspired by Canadian values: family values and values of human decency. From the very first day of the company, our founder, Mr. B (Aldo Bensadoun), always spoke about building an ideal society. He was thinking about social responsibility and purpose before the terms became mainstream, it’s at the core of everything we do.
Q. The shoe industry isn’t viewed as being the most eco-forward industry what with raw materials and waste. What’s one thing you wish more people knew about the industry as a whole, good or bad, to better influence their buying decisions?
A. I want people to know that the long-term sustainability of the global fashion industry needs systemic change that goes beyond what any one company is capable of doing on its own. Fashion companies can and should join forces with other companies, leading experts and non-governmental organizations to innovate, establish guidelines and share best practices in sustainability. Collaboration is key when we want to integrate sustainability in our strategies. We knew we couldn’t do it alone, so we’ve been working alongside organizations such as the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and Sustainable Brands. They’re leading alliances for sustainable fashion and help bring positive influence to an industry with so much potential.
I also want the Millennials and Gen Zers, especially, to know that their desire to make a positive impact on the world and their passion about environmental causes is what will push companies to make change. At ALDO we hear them and recognize this demand, we want to be leaders in change and my hope is that others companies do the same.
00Jon Van Drunenhttps://bloomtreadwell.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/bloom-icon-2020-04.pngJon Van Drunen2019-10-16 15:38:402019-10-16 15:38:40Style Q&A: ALDO CEO talks eco-conscious initiatives and the RPPL effect
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