Firm seeks funding for ‘performance sneakers’ made from coffee waste

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Firm seeks funding for ‘performance sneakers’ made from coffee waste

Finnish firm Rens says shoes made from used grounds and recycled plastic will be climate neutral

Rens' new vegan waterproof sneaker will be completely climate neutral.

Last modified on Tue 3 Aug 2021 18.51 EDT

It is the typical morning routine for hundreds of thousands of Britons: have a cup of coffee and then slip on your trainers before heading for a jog. Upon returning, a quick drink of water to rehydrate before stepping into the shower.

Now, one firm has enabled one thing to beget another, by creating trainers made of recycled plastic bottles and used coffee beans.

Finnish footwear firm Rens launched an online fundraising campaign for its latest sustainable trainer on Tuesday, which it claims will be climate neutral in its production, packaging and transport.

“Shoes made from recycled coffee grounds may seem novel to some, but we wholeheartedly believe that this is just the beginning of a revolution in garment technology and manufacturing,” said Son Chu, the firm’s co-founder.

The company said the shoe, called Nomad, will be made from coffee waste and recycled bottles, while recycled polyester will be used to create the membrane to make the footwear waterproof.

This is the second shoe the firm has produced to similar specifications, having launched its general purpose trainer via another Kickstarter campaign in the summer of 2019. It said that demonstrated there was a market for a more performance-related product this time round. The brand’s original shoe was made from 21 cups of coffee waste and six bottles of recycled plastic each.

Jesse Tran, co-founder and CEO of Rens, said: “With the new model, we are continuing our mission to promote sustainable fashion with technology and innovation.

“We are particularly pleased that we were able to include the feedback from our previous customers in the development of the Nomad, who explicitly requested a performance sneaker.”

The latest launch indicates a growing trend for athletic wear made from recycled materials, alongside a growing consciousness of the importance and feasibility of more sustainable consumer products more broadly.

In June, the market analyst Mintel said it was seeing more and more brands releasing athletic wear made from recycled materials, citing as an example the French outdoor brand Salomon, which released a running shoe with an upper made from recycled polyester that can be recycled again into new thread for fabric.

Mintel predicted that brands switching to sustainable production processes and schemes to encourage the return of used products could benefit in the future.

One of the more high-profile examples was Adidas’s 2015 partnership with Parley for the Oceans, which included the launch of a shoe made from reclaimed marine plastic. Other major brands, such as Gucci and Stella McCartney, have also worked with the organisation.

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