Converse Announce Plan to Reduce, Reuse and… Renew?
Whether you lace up in an impish US5 or channel Shaq in beastly US23s, your carbon footprint is sizable. This is because you’re likely a member of a curious group of people known as ‘sneakerheads’, who pride themselves in obtaining footwear that adds to the bulging 8.3 billion tons of plastic ever made. But you don’t need to renounce sneakers for doomsday prepping yet. Converse have just announced a new way for you to help Captain Planet: reduce, reuse, and Renew. Renew is a new eco-friendly offering with a host of beneficial traits — a large one is the ability to take PET (the culprit in most plastic bottles) and turn it into sneakers.
Converse Renew is a sustainability initiative tasked with providing creative solutions to excess product. Over three quarters of that 8.3 billion tons has become post-consumer waste, contributing to a worrying world in which ocean levels rise and we have to ditch sneakers for gumboots. And to halter this glib future of shapeless, slug-like footwear, Converse Renew is introducing three processes that recycle cotton canvas, upcycle textiles, and recycle PET into new sneakers. To start, they’re tackling one of the best-selling sneakers on earth, the Chuck Taylor All Star.
Each of Renew’s three arms are rethinking waste in different ways. For canvas, a huge part of Converse’s output, the brand has managed to develop a new material — Converse Renew Canvas — made from 100 per cent recycled polyester. Better yet, the textile has the exact same look and feel as the stuff on your current All Stars.
Next, Renew Denim takes denim jeans saved from landfills and breathes life into them using an in-house method – one that Converse are hyped on because it’s the first time they’ve been able make Chucks using textiles upcycled from a single source.
Converse’s Renew Cotton then rounds out the release using a composite that blends 40 per cent recycled cotton with polyester for yarn sans guilt.
Now, we could nerd out on materials until the cows come home to an emission-friendly seaweed pasture, but sneaker love is a visual affair. If Converse had tainted the All Star’s timeless design we’d have to pass and embrace the slug-boots. Luckily, they didn’t.
The inaugural trio of Renew All Stars maintains aesthetics that have kept the look in demand for over 100 years. Colourways include Converse Renew Cotton in salt and pepper grey made from Converse canvas scraps, a light blue Converse Renew Denim, which will come in various shades all brimming with Springsteen-level Americana, and a Converse Renew Canvas pair in 'Putty' white bearing the maxim ‘Life’s too short to waste’.
This is far from the first time Converse have done their bit for the planet. They adopted ReUSE a Shoe years ago, an undertaking that transforms worn sneakers into sports and play surfaces, and also use Flyknit, which uses 60 per cent less waste than cut and sew methods. However, Converse Renew’s ability to not just reduce waste but to reuse it is an important step in minimising the sneaker industry’s climate contributions.
Converse Renew Canvas and Renew Denim are up first. The former will hit Converse stores on July 5 and the latter will drop in August. Renew Cotton will then follow in Spring 2020, and Converse are hinting it won’t be alone.