Have these 4 sneaker brands cracked the sustainability code?

With over 23 billion pairs of sneakers being produced every year, the sneaker industry is bigger than ever. What many consumers miss during their search for a new pair, is that the industry is also one of the least evolved lifestyle sectors in regard to sustainability. Over 300 million pairs of sneakers are being thrown out annually to landfill, and, a lot of brands still think that fast-paced hyped drops, low price points, and quick growth is the key to success within a highly competitive sneaker world. 

In the past, most consumers would not have thought much about exactly how their sneakers were made, but that is no longer the case. In addition to demanding trend-setting styles, co-labs, and innovations, the educated consumers of today expect products to be made responsibly.

And as consumers become more educated about environmental issues, brands also become more incentive to sustainable innovation. Below you’ll find four brands that are trying to set a new standard, and, crack the sustainability code, by making sneakers with innovative, eco-friendly materials and more sustainable production methods and kick-ass afterlife programs.

And it is performance runners made by Swedish Icebug, ON running, Salomon, and Reebok that is running for change. These are your new go-to runners/sneakers.

Reebok Forever Floatride GROW 

Real plant-based performance 

— The earth is a runner’s arena, and we have a responsibility to help detox the world for the athletes who run in it, said Matt O’Toole, Reebok Brand President.

— Our consumers have told us they want more sustainable products, and the running community has been the most vocal and passionate on this issue. We want to help runners perform at their best, while also feeling good about the products they wear.

Ingredient list: 

Castor Beans: Energy return and lightweight

One of the best parts of the shoe is its highly cushioned, responsive midsole, which is built from sustainably grown castor beans. 

Eucalyptus bark: Breathability

The eucalyptus tree upper is mesh, naturally biodegradable, and strong.

Bloom algae: Comfortable cushioning

The sockliner utilizes bloom algae foam to provide a comfortable footbed. The algae is also naturally odor-resistant.

Natural rubber outsole: Flexible and durable

The natural rubber outsole gives flexible traction and durability. It’s sustainably sourced from real rubber trees, rather than the petroleum-based rubber featured in other performance products.

Icebug Outrun RB9X

Scale down the unnecessary, scale up sustainability

— OutRun RB9X combines the best of two worlds. It has the traction and ground control needed for technical trails but at the same time extraordinary amounts of comfort, which makes it easy to use for several hours of running. OutRun is a great addition to the Icebug shoe family, says Karin Möller, creative director and head of design at Icebug.

One of the highlights from the Swedish brand Icebug is the Outrun RB9X®. Outrun is Scandinavian design made with simplicity in mind. No added polyurethane pieces, big foam prints, or unnecessary solutions. Everything added has a function. By choosing a greener factory with solar panels, more sustainable materials, and overcompensating for their carbon emissions to get a climate positive shoe, Icebug has created a real sustainable trail running shoe.

Salomon Index01

A running shoe designed for after life  

— Salomon’s unique expertise across multiple sports categories, coupled with a passion for the environment has led to the development of this exciting new shoe, Michael White, the company’s president, said in a statement.

— When the Salomon Index.01 was presented internally, the audience burst into spontaneous applause as the dream of a performance Salomon running shoe that is fully recyclable became reality.

The Salomon Index01 is the result of 3 years of research and development at Salomon’s Annecy Design Center in the French Alps. The goal of the project is to reduce material waste and lessen the environmental impact of footwear by using circular lifecycle principles. The result is a shoe made of two primary materials: recycled polyester and nitrogen-infused, thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) foam called INFINIRIDE. At the end of its life, regional recycling programs disassemble the recycled polyester upper and the TPU bottom unit to be recycled again.

ON-running Cyklon 

The running shoe you will never own 

— The Cyclon service is a groundbreaking new way to become more sustainable, while also ensuring the running performance is never compromised for our customers, On co-founder Caspar Coppetti, said in a statement.

— Customers who sign-up today will be the first ones to get the latest in sustainable running technology.

ON has launched a sustainable, subscription-based running shoe initiative dubbed Cyklon that’s centered around a recyclable silhouette of the same name. Now the Swiss footwear company is looking to break new ground with the earth-first inatitive.

Customers can sign up for Cyclon subscription service at A deposit of $29.99 USD is required for entry, and the Cyclon running shoe will be available exclusively via the service in the latter half of 2021.


The five best jackets for fall, according to our editor of sustainability

On a short-term basis, we need to dress appropriately for the challenging Scandinavian autumn. On a long-term basis, we need to do it sustainably for the sake of our planet. Thankfully, one approach does not exclude the other and fashion brands are slowly and steadily starting to find new and more innovative ways in how they produce their garments.

— The future of innovation is sustainable innovation, and what the world really needs is that brands support a systematic change and take a lead in transforming our approach to ethical and sustainable manufacturing. These five brands all have their own ways in tackling the issue and find ways in how they as brands can find ways to collaborate for change rather than compete for growth, says Fredrik Ekström, Fredrik Ekström, our editor-at-large for sustainability and branding.

Acne Studios repurposed trucker jacket

Acne Studios’ released a fully repurposed capsule collection as a part of this years autumn/winter drop. Part of the collection is this fully repurposed women’s jacket, with cuts and contrasts of tweed, denim and leather. The sleeves are detachable with marked zippers, and the shirt is cut from two contrasting cloths.

66˚North Dyngja jacket

Icelandic outdoors brand 66˚North has tackled the gruesome conditions of Iceland for close to 100 years now, so it’s safe to say that their products can handle cold autumn days pretty much anywhere. The unisex Dyngja jacket is a water-resistant down jacket that was originally designed ten years ago, but the up-to-date version is made out of recycled polyester from discarded PET bottles. We prefer non-biodegradable materials in our clothes rather than landfills and oceans.

Timberland Climate Pack jacket

We know that Timberland has set high standards for their environmental responsibility, and the new reflective, water-resistant Climate Pack jacket proves just that. It is insulated with 100% recycled insulation, and the polyester shell is patched together in materials made from reused PET bottles. The jacket also comes with matching boots and a duffel bag.

NN07 Columbo jacket

The Columbo jacket resembles a coach jacket, but still has the feel and look of an overshirt. Furthermore, it’s padded to give you an extra layer of warmth when the temperature drops. The padding is also made out of PrimaLoft Eco-Padding, that consist of 60% post-consumer recycled materials.

Helly Hansen Mono Insulator jacket

Norwegian outdoor pioneer Helly Hansen has been around for almost 150 years and was among the first to adopt plastic in clothing production in the early 1900s, revolutionizing water-proof clothing. The sporty and unisex Mono Insulator jacket’s shell is made from 100% polyester and is insulated with 100% recyclable down-feel PFC-free polyester.