Everlane's Long-awaited Sneaker Isn't Just Comfortable — It's Incredibly Eco-friendly
There are plenty of components we usually consider when scouting out new travel shoes. They should be supportive, versatile, easy to pair multiple outfits with, and comfortable to walk in. Sustainability, however, is one component that's too often overlooked.
The sneaker manufacturing industry has a pretty large carbon footprint. Though in the past several years, new sustainable footwear brands like Allbirds and Rothy's have made strides in the right direction. And now, Everlane is joining the game with an in-house sneaker brand that took two years to develop, Tread by Everlane, which officially launched Thursday with its first style, the Trainer.
Throughout the production process, the two-woman team behind the Trainer literally took a trip up the supply chain — visiting the leather tannery’s water treatment facility in Vietnam, sorting through latex waste at a recycling plant in Malaysia, and tapping natural rubber from trees in Thailand — to maximize the environmental efficiency at each step.
The sole alone took 18 months to design, and the result is made up of natural and post-industrial recycled rubbers that are 94.2 percent free of virgin (new) plastic. The laces, lining, and several more small components are made from discarded plastic; each pair gives new life to 9.5 bottles. (The brand has actually committed to eliminating the use of virgin plastic altogether by 2021 as part of its ReNew initiative.) As for the upper, the leather is sourced from what Everlane calls the cleanest tannery in the world, Saigon TanTec in southern Vietnam.
And now let's talk about how they ride. I got to pick out a pair to test, and while I usually wear an 8.5 in closed-toe shoes, I was advised to size up to a 9. The brand also recommends women who wear sizes 5 and 6 go up a whole size. After having walked a day in them, I can say with confidence that there are no indicators of discomfort ahead — no rubbing at the heel, just enough width in the toe box, and a soft but firm footbed. And surprisingly, after wearing a lot of sneakers with light and slim soles (which unfortunately often come at a cost to the environment), it felt kind of nice to have a bit more heft between my foot and the ground.
In a style that's very much influenced by past and present, it's clear that Tread Trainers are made to last. You’ll also want to treat them with a protectant spray before taking them out into the wilds so they stay clean for many trips to come.
They're available in both men's and women's sizing in seven easy-to-wear colors for $98 each. You can shop our favorites below.