A few years ago, Reebok launched their cotton and corn sneakers, a move towards making more sustainable footwear. Their goal was to make shoes out of materials that grow instead of petroleum-based products. The creation of these sneakers was a good shift towards more eco-friendly materials, but there was still a material used that is not eco-friendly and animal-derived… leather.
The shoes had two leather patches (one on the tongue and one on the heel) that animal activists, including PETA urged Reebok to replace. Fortunately, Reebok listened and announced they will be removing the two leather patches! They are being replaced with off-white cotton, and the rest of the shoes are the same with the soles made from corn and the upper made from organic cotton.
Leather is not an environmentally friendly material because it is a product of factory farms, which not only produce tons of waste and methane each year. Not to mention, it requires using a lot of water. It’s also a cruel material—it’s the actual skin of a cow. Animals need their skin on their own bodies. We don’t have to wear or use it. Given this information about leather, it’s no wonder consumers and animal activists are happy with Reebok’s decision!
Reebok was even honored with the Innovator for Animals award by PETA because their Cotton + Corn initiative, “perfectly demonstrates the superiority of cruelty-free, plant-based technology over leather and other animal-derived materials, and provides trendsetters and activewear enthusiasts alike with sneakers that are durable, light, zero-waste, and, best of all, animal-friendly.”
We hope this move by Reebok paves the way for other companies to also make more environmentally-friendly and cruelty-free products!
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