Reebok Is ‘Growing’ A New Line Of Plant-Based Footwear
PSFK talks to Bill McInnis, Head of Reebok Future, about the future of Reebok footwear
Reebok has announced their Cotton + Corn initiative, which focuses on bringing sustainability through plant-based footwear. The simple premise is that Reebok will create shoes made from things that grow. Although not yet released, the brand plans on releasing a shoe that comprises of organic cotton and industrial grown corn. They partnered up with DuPont Tate & Lyle Bio Products, a company that works on high-performance bio-based solutions.
PSFK had the opportunity to chat with Bill McInnis about this initiative and what consumers can expect.
Can you give us the idea behind the “Cotton + Corn” initiative?
“The idea was to use materials that grow—that’s where the tagline came from—as opposed to pulling things out of the earth. Most footwear is petroleum-based, once it’s used, it’s pretty much done forever. When you use materials that can grow, it lets you create a product that goes through a full cycle, without worrying about what will happen to the products at the end. Most consumers throw away shoes and don’t think about what happens to them in the landfill. We considered this when we came up with this initiative” – Bill McInnis
What kind of designs will the shoe showcase?
“We’ll start with our lifestyle product: the Reebok classic lines. A limited edition will be released this Fall and there will be a bigger release next year. This initiative is something that is growing as we go. We want to add to the menu of sustainably-built product items and as we do that, we will expand into performance-based shoes eventually. It’s just the beginning.”
Where is this idea coming from and what is the end goal?
“We have been working on the idea for five years now. We looked at a lot of different materials and recyclable items but we really wanted to go on top of the pyramid, looking at the entire life cycle of the shoe. That was our kickoff five years ago. The biggest hurdle was balancing everything out so we make something that still delivers the style and comfort of typical athletic shoes.”
Is it possible for a company as big as Reebok to completely shift to a sustainable, plant-based footwear?
“Yes, but over time. I would say an analogy is electric cars, it starts with one and then it starts to move more across the range. That is what’s happening here. Do one right, get it out there and have everyone see the potential of it, then expand out from there.”
What does the future of footwear look like to Reebok?
“Process as opposed to product. What our group does is support the design of the shoe by finding new people we can make shoes with, new things we can make shoes out of, and where we can make these shoes. What we end up is a differentiated range of footwear. One recent example of this is Liquid Factory, when we found an innovative way to manufacture footwear. Instead of molding shoes in traditional ways, we found a new way that utilizes 3D drawing and has a whole host of benefits.”