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How many shoes do you own? How many shoes have you thrown away in the past? Well, just because the shoes happened to be last season, that doesn’t mean they are completely out of sight when you throw them out. Trash adds up in our oceans, landfills, forests and more, resulting in major environmental problems. A staggering 8.8 million tons of plastic make their way into the world’s oceans every year.

And plastic waste isn’t the only problem. We produced 250 million tons of trash in 2011 and recycled about 87 million tons, which equals to a 34.7 percent recycled rate and 4.40 pounds of trash produced per person per day. Further, the EPA states that clothing recycling today has an equivalent impact of removing one million cars from the nation’s roads.

To help combat our massive trash problem, there have been a number of unique eco-friendly garments popping up from recycled plastic bottle yoga pants to 100 percent recycled jeans. And now, there’s another hot new item. Sneakers made out of corn. No really. Reebok recently announced a new project to bring plant-based footwear to the market later this year … and we can’t wait.

The project is called “Cotton + Corn” and will make shoes “from things that grow” instead of petroleum-based materials. The first product will be a shoe that has an upper comprised of organic cotton and a base originating from industrially grown corn (a non-food source).


To make “Cotton + Corn” happen, Reebok partnered with DuPont Tate & Lyle Bio Products, a leading manufacturer of high-performance bio-based solutions. DuPont Tate & Lyle has developed Susterra® propanediol, a pure, petroleum-free, non-toxic, 100 percent USDA certified bio-based product, derived from field corn. Susterra® propanediol is used to create the sole of the Cotton + Corn shoes. Pretty cool, right?

Bill McInnis, the Head of Reebox future says, “We like to say, we are ‘growing shoes’ here at Reebok. Ultimately, our goal is to create a broad selection of bio-based footwear that can be composted after use. We’ll then use that compost as part of the soil to grow the materials for the next range of shoes. We want to take the entire cycle into account; to go from dust to dust.”

We the new shoes hit stores later this year, you bet we are going to be the first in line! Check out the video for more information on the shoes and the aims of this innovative project.

Image Source: Reebox/YouTube

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0 comments on “Reebok is Ditching Petroleum Products and Making Sneakers Out of Corn and Organic Cotton”

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Michael Wood
2 Months Ago

Shame its cotton and not hemp but a good concept to start off with.


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