To make a better sneaker, the material has to pass two tests:
Does it make a great sneaker and does it reduce our impact on the environment? First, let’s start with environmental impact.
Using recycled materials makes better shoes. Period.
That being said, plastic pollution and food waste present a real problem that we can help combat.
Ready for a crazy stat? If food waste was a country, it would be the third-largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world.
The problem isn’t just the “science project” growing your refrigerator. Most people discard food waste every time they brew a fresh pot of coffee and don’t think about it twice. If you just toss the used grounds in the trash without a second thought, you’re not alone. An astounding 6 million tons of coffee grounds head to landfills every year.
Even though coffee is obviously biodegradable, when used coffee grounds are trapped in landfills, they emit methane as they decompose. We are talking about a powerful greenhouse gas that has a 28x larger global warming potential than CO2. Just the emissions from discarded coffee grounds alone add up to the equivalent of the annual output of 10 million cars.
Every pair of Rens diverts 21 cups worth of coffee grounds from landfills and uses them to make the best damn sneaker material on the planet.
By recycling coffee, we can not only reduce our impact but also unlock the full potential of this amazing material. We’ll talk more about that potential in a bit, but first, let’s talk about an even bigger problem.
A million plastic bottles are purchased every minute. Somewhere between 800,000 to 1,000,000 single-use plastic bottles have found their way into our communities in the time it’s taken you to read this far (no points for skimming).
This isn’t by accident, the very same reasons that this material is an existential threat to our environment are the same reasons our society continues to use it. It is incredibly durable and incredibly light. But with that resilience comes the catch, it doesn’t degrade.
This is why it’s crucial to find new ways to reuse and repurpose it.
By using the materials from 6 recycled plastic bottles, we not only lower the CO2 emissions generated by our upper's construction by 79% compared to virgin polymers used in most athletic footwear but you also fully utilize the core strengths that made plastic so ubiquitous, to begin with.
There is one unifying ingredient that makes a shoe a sneaker, and that is rubber. Binding a piece of rubber to an upper is the very beginning of sneakers as a concept.
But here’s the problem: 79% of all sneakers are made using synthetic rubber and the production of synthetic rubber results in more waste than the volume of rubber produced.
On the other hand, there’s natural rubber. Sustainable by nature, this material is collected from the Hevea tree without harming the plant itself and has been cultivated in Latin America for over 3,000 years. Its elastic properties were so astounding to early European explorers that they assumed it had to be the product of sorcery or witchcraft.
While it may not be magic, it is the material used in every pair of Rens to ensure you get the traction to feel confident in your every step and your footprint.
Utilizing recycled materials is more than just a selling point, it is the source of all of our features.
We are driven to create bold looks that aren't just built for sustainability--they are built by it.
You now know that our coffee material diverts waste that creates greenhouse gasses, but did you know it makes a fresher sneaker? Our sustainable sneaker material contains tiny micro-pockets that trap unpleasant odors and is naturally antibacterial to target the bacteria that create the odors at the source.
On top of smelling fresh, it dries 200% faster than traditional athletic apparel, keeping your waterproof shoes dry inside and out.
And while coffee may be the thing that turns heads, recycled plastic pulls its weight too. Those same features that make plastic such a problem also create an incredibly flexible and ultra-durable textile while breathing new life into this typically single use-material.
These materials meet to create a high performance, eco-friendly sneaker. Coffee brings the features, recycled plastic brings flex and durability, and natural rubber plants your feet on solid ground.
All three create a sustainable sneaker built for your environment.