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Reebok reveals world’s first plant-based performance running shoe

The Forever Floatride GROW is made with castor beans, algae, eucalyptus, and natural rubber.

In 2017, the world spent $64.3 billion dollars on athletic shoes, with running shoes dominating the market. If the average cost per pair were $100 each, that would mean 643,000,000 pairs of athletic shoes were purchased during the year.

Athletic shoes are primarily made of synthetic material – as in, plastic derived from petroleum. They are not easily recyclable and do not necessarily have a very long life with the consumer, meaning that most will end up in the landfill after a few years. Since runners are advised to replace their shoes every 300 miles or so, a running shoe's life is even shorter.

Which is why it is great news that Reebok has revealed a new plant-based running shoe. Called the Forever Floatride GROW, it is made with plants and is part of the company's plan to reduce the use of petroleum-based plastics in footwear. (They plan to eliminate virgin polyester altogether by 2025.) Runners are a bit particular about the performance aspects of a shoe, so this is quite a big step.

“With Forever Floatride GROW, we’re replacing oil-based plastic with plants,” said Bill McInnis, Vice President, Reebok Future. “The biggest challenge in making a shoe like this was developing plant-based materials that could meet the high performance needs of runners. During the three years we spent developing this product, we heard loud and clear that the idea of a plant-based running shoe resonates strongly with serious runners. But those same runners felt just as emphatically that they would never compromise on performance. The Forever Floatride GROW is the result. Plant-based performance – with no compromise.”

reebok running shoe© Reebok

Here are the components:

  • Sustainably grown castor beans are used for the shoe’s highly cushioned and responsive midsole which, the company notes, “is built from and maintains the high performance and lightweight cushioning standard of the original Forever Floatride Energy.”
  • Eucalyptus tree comprises the upper; the material is naturally biodegradable, sustainably sourced, strong and breathable.
  • BLOOM algae foam is used for the sock liner. The algae is harvested from invasive growth areas and is naturally odor resistant.
  • Natural rubber is used for outsole – it is sustainably sourced from real rubber trees, rather than the petroleum-based rubber featured in other performance products.

“The earth is a runner’s arena, and we have a responsibility to help detox the world for the athletes who run in it,” said Matt O’Toole, Reebok Brand President. “Our Cotton + Corn collection was the first step in making shoes from things that grow. Now, we have taken an award-winning running shoe, the Forever Floatride Energy, and reinvented it using natural materials to create what we feel is the most sustainable performance running shoe on the market.”

“Our consumers have told us they want more sustainable products, and the running community has been the most vocal and passionate on this issue,” added O’Toole. “We want to help runners perform at their best, while also feeling good about the products they wear.”

Forever Floatride GROW will hit the shelves in Fall 2020. We will keep you posted; in the meantime, you can sign up to learn more here.

The Forever Floatride GROW is made with castor beans, algae, eucalyptus, and natural rubber.