In the Netherlands, a running shoe brand has designed a 100% plant-based sneaker, jumping ahead of larger brands that have introduced athletic shoes that are partially biobased or incorporate recycled materials.
Zen Running Club says its trainer boasts a midsole made of sugarcane and algae and an outsole comprised of natural rubber.
“The sugarcane is from a managed source, the algae bloom is part of a program that cleans up water sources in the developing world, and the natural rubber is free of additives or petrochemicals that would diminish its ability to degrade,” Richard Rusling, cofounder of Zen Running Club, tells Fast Company, adding that he believes recycling will ultimately extend the world’s reliance on petrochemicals. “Recycling is, of course, great for the environment. However, we can’t start a new company today using yesterday’s technology—we have focused on looking forward and working in a different way,” he adds.
The company is testing the prototype and expects to deliver its new sneaker to customers in January. Preorders are currently available on the company’s Kickstarter page.