The sole of the sneaker will be made with petroleum-free, non-toxic industrial-grown corn, while the body of the shoe will be made with 100 percent organic cotton. The line is part of the company’s Corn + Cotton initiative.
“Reebok is trying to clean up the entire life cycle of shoe making,” Bill McInnis, vice president of Reebok’s future team, said in a statement.
Both the cotton and corn in Reebok’s new kicks are compostable, so once you’ve worn out your pair they’ll be recycled to create an entirely different pair.
But this isn’t the corn you’d have at a 4th of July cook-out. This type of corn, known as field corn, feeds livestock and is used to make other durable materials that can be found in packing and plastics.
Currently, most shoes are made with oil-based plastics that are harmful to the environmental and can sit in landfills for centuries. And, according to a 2013 study out of MIT, the process to make one pair of running sneakers emits around 30 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
The entire sneaker industry is making a push to rid their products of petroleum-based materials. Both Nike and Adidas have similar initiatives to create sustainable and recyclable sneakers.
“We now have the formula to replicate this across a range of sneakers”, McInnis said. “This is the blueprint for a lot of shoes to come”.