Swiss brand plans subscription model for castor bean sneakers

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In Switzerland, sneaker brand On is poised to launch a subscription-only model for its fully recyclable Cyclon running shoes. Made from castor beans, the model ensures the sneakers go back to the company for processing.

The shoes will become available starting in fall 2021 for $29.99 per month, and will not be available for purchase any other way. Consumers can send back their used sneakers as often as they like for a fresh pair.

On is hoping to attract 200,000 subscribers by the launch. Caspar Coppetti, one of three founders, says scale will be important to making a meaningful impact. “We don’t want to have a showcase of saying: ‘Look here’s a product, we made 10 of them, this is what we could do in the future,’” Coppetti tells Fast Company. “We want it in the market now.” To keep the service green, subscriptions will only be available in regions with enough demand to avoid carbon footprint of delivering one box to a “far-flung corner of Fiji,” he adds.

Adidas attempted a circular model without a monthly fee, but struggled to get consumers to return the shoes for the company to produce new shoes.