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  • Dean

Earth Day, Diaries Of A Sneaker Head.

As a sneaker head it’s easy to see the environmental impact that we have on the environment. Sneaker heads don’t just appreciate sneakers, they collect. Collect anything they can get their hands on and that level of mass consumption leaves no foot to stand on when you try and call yourself environmentally conscious. At least that used to be our only reality as sneaker heads, that is until a few years when the big sneaker brands realized saving the environment was trendy and they needed to capitalize on that wave.

The big sneaker companies (Nike, Adidas, New Balance etc...) turned to their research and development teams to figure out how to best manufacture sneakers with as minute a coat in footprint as possible. By no means did Nike or Adidas figure out how to eliminate their carbon footprint however these companies developed ways to manufacture sneakers out of materials that would have otherwise been trashed.

Nike created their “Space Hippie” line of sneakers (above) as an answer to the environmentalists breathing down their necks, shout out to Greta Thunberg for whatever it is she does exactly. The “Space Hippie” line is described by Nike as “An exploratory footwear collection inspired by life on Mars—where materials are scarce and there is no resupply mission. Created from scraps, or ‘space junk,’ Space Hippie is the result of sustainable practices meeting radical design.” Let’s just take a second and give props to the person in Nike storytelling department that wrote that up as a way to describe sneakers made out of recycled materials.

Adidas took a much different approach to the dilemma by partnering with the company Parley. Parley is a company that is a meeting place for people of all walks of life who want to raise awareness for the beauty and fragility of the worlds Oceans. Adidas collaborated with Parley to create a line of sneakers that are made 100% out of recycled ocean plastics. Adidas much like Nike wanted to put their own futuristic twist on the concept of sneakers made with recycled materials. Adidas did so through the use of their “4D” line of sneakers which are shoes where the entire outsole has been 3D printed. If I’m being honest the most comfortable pair of sneakers I’ve ever owned have been my Adidas X Parley Alpha edge 4D (pictured above). There’s something about knowing I don’t have the unbearable weight of climate change weighing me down when I wear them that make them that much more comfortable.

Ocean plastics to sneakers (Via Parley)

Nike has also recently started accepting old sneakers at their outlets where they will refurbish them then sell them back at a lower price point as a way to recycle sneakers rather than always creating new kicks. This is one of the better ideas surrounding environmentalism and sneakers that I’ve seen because as cool as the sneakers made out of other materials are the production costs lead to a higher price point for consumers where as refurbishment leads to less new pairs of sneakers, less materials used and a cheaper cost for the everyday sneaker head (I wrote a blog on this a while back I’ll link it at the bottom).

Environmentally sneakers are headed in the right direction we just need to wait for the technology to catch up. Normal people can’t be buying $350 recycled material so until these companies can develop a way to create these sneakers at a lower price point I’ll stick with my monthly trips to the recycle depot as a way to help out our environment.

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