New Balance and Reebok are finding creative ways to go green.

By Genevieve Kyle.

Sustainable athletic apparel and footwear is hitting the sneaker market with strong might. In 2019, Grand View Research valued the sustainable footwear market at 7.5 billion USD and predicted it to grow at an annual growth rate of 5.8% from 2020-2027. We can attribute this rise to multiple factors, from increasing awareness among consumers to an increase in marketing and the rising number of brands embracing sustainable practices.

On August 17th, New Balance announced its latest initiative, New Balanced Renewed, a collaboration with the circular clothing market, The Renewal Workshop (TRW). Bolstered by a six-stage, zero waste objective, “New Balance is keeping apparel in use for longer and learning how to design for repairability,” States John Stokes, Director of Global Sustainability for the brand.

The Renewal Workshop, co-founded by Jeff Denby and Nicole Bassett in 2015, is a used clothing refurbisher. TRW’s six-stage objective referred to as the “renewal system,” sorts, grates, thoroughly cleans, repairs, and inspects clothes before both New Balance and TRW sign them off before putting them up for sale.

New Balance is not the only brand making its mark on the sustainable footwear field. In 2019, Reebok revealed the world’s first plant-based shoe, The Forever Floatride GROW, created from eucalyptus, algae foam, natural rubber, and sustainable castor beans. The plant-based shoes are designs that Reebok “wanted to create that not only helped our athletes perform at their best, but are also something they could feel good wearing,” states Kristen Fortin, Director of Global Brand Communications and Marketing at Reebok. Intending to make 100% of their products sustainable by 2030, Reebok’s [REE]grow and [REE]cycled lines allow the brand to push its sustainable design efforts forward. Reebok makes its [REE]cycled sneakers from a minimum of 30% recycled materials, and every [REE]grow sneakers are made with at least 50% plant-based materials. 

With a multitude of sportswear brands still upholding conventional fast fashion methods, exploration by New Balance, Reebok, and other activewear brands is paving the way for sustainability and ingenuity in the world of athletic apparel.