Reebok targets corn-based kicks

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In the United States, sneaker giant Reebok has launched an initiative to manufacture athletic footwear from natural materials such as organic cotton and rubber made from corn-based sugar.

Dubbed the Cotton + Corn program, Reebok plans to use DuPont Tate & Lyle Bio Products’ propanediol, a biodegradable rubber derived from corn, for the soles. The sneakers will look and perform like regular sneakers, and will be compostable, the company says.

“Unfortunately, the fact is most shoes just end up in landfills, which is something we are trying to change,” said Reebok president Matt O’Toole. The company aims to launch the program’s first pair of sneakers later this year. Reebok is a subsidiary of Adidas.