Reebok’s (Nearly) Biodegradable “Cotton + Corn” Trainers Available This Autumn 2018

With roughly 20 billion pairs of shoes made from petroleum, which is known to pollute the air, water, and soil, produced each year, and around 300 million ending up being sent to landfills, could Reebok's (nearly) compostable trainers be the answer?

If the last few years are anything to go by, we know that there is a definite appetite for innovation when it comes to sneaker tech. You only have to look at the advancements made by Nike and adidas to see that innovation is vital to these brands, especially when it comes to staying ahead of the competition. This is why it is quite nice to see athletic apparel company Reebok also exploring the merger of science with materials.

Credit: Reebok

Reebok, Removing Rubber & Plastic Out Of The Process

With the objective to remove rubber and plastic out of the process and replace it with natural things that grow like corn, Reebok has developed a shoe that is made entirely from “biological materials”. The new “Cotton + Corn” trainers are comprised of a 100% cotton upper and a bio-based sole made from a corn-based plastic substitute. Taking a more sustainable route, Reebok has also made the insole of the show from castor bean oil, the fabrics that make up the shoe are undyed, and the packaging that the show comes in is made from recycled materials.

“Our issue with recycling is you recycle plastic; it’s still plastic…You’re not getting rid of the problem”

On the first-ever “75% USDA certified bio-based shoe[s],” Bill McInnis, who heads ReebokFuture told CBS News in April 2018, “We started considering the whole lifecycle of the shoe and whether you can make it with something that grows, taking into account that people have to accept the styling and the comfort.” Adding, “It didn’t start out with corn and cotton, it started out with recycling, compostability, where do we want to land. Our issue with recycling is you recycle plastic; it’s still plastic…You’re not getting rid of the problem.”

Credit: Reebok

If you like the sound of nearly biodegradable sustainable unisex sneakers, then be sure to grab a pair of the Natural/Chalk Reebok trainers this Autumn 2018. If you prefer a pair that is completely compostable, then you will have to wait for the second version that will be available soon.

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Founding editor-in-chief of, Muchaneta is currently one of the leading influencers writing about the merger of fashion with technology and wearable technology. She has also given talks at Premiere Vision, Munich Fabric Start and Pure London, to name a few. Besides working as a fashion innovation consultant for various fashion companies like LVMH Atelier, Muchaneta has also contributed to Vogue Business, is a senior contributor at The Interline and an associate lecturer at London College of Fashion, UAL.