Our story

It all begins in the summer of 2017 with a chance encounter in a coffee shop between two sneakerheads. Jesse Tran, with a background in sustainable manufacturing and Son Chu, who began his career in tech working with fashion-heavyweights at Zalando.

Jesse and Son - Cofounders of Rens Coffee Sneakers Jesse Tran (left) and Son Chu (right)

Their conversation quickly turns into a discussion on fashion and its impact on the environment.

An idea is formed: make a sustainable sneaker that sneaker enthusiasts actually want to wear.

The first option the duo came up with was an organic cotton sneaker. A prototype is developed and the new sneaker is dubbed “Rens.” Originating from a mix of Ren in Swedish meaning “clean or unpolluted” and Ren stemming from the Confucianist virtue of compassion and benevolence. The cotton sneaker is quickly abandoned. Not sustainable enough. Cotton sneaker idea scrapped. Back to the drawing board. The search for new materials begins!

Enter the Coffee Sneaker.

The founders discovered that a high-tensile thread can be pulled from used coffee grounds creating a material with some very interesting properties.

Fast-drying, odor-fighting, best sneakers-material-on-the-planet properties.

We believe that sneaker enthusiasts deserve eco-friendly fashion that doesn’t slouch on features or style.

. . .

Meet the Rens team behind everything.