Reebok joins top seed in industry pursuit to reduce petroleum-based plastics

Reebok, fitness company is partnering with Boston-area based Siena Farms, to launch Forever Floatride GROW, one of the first plant-based performance shoes, with custom CSA (community supported agriculture) produce boxes available to the first 50 customers across the US on 1 October exclusively through Reebok UNLOCKED.

The sustainable wood crate comes with the sneakers, which rival top running shoes, and a half bushel of a dozen varieties of fresh vegetables. For every purchase, Reebok will donate a CSA box to people facing food insecurity through Siena Farms’ community-sponsored farm shares programme that increases equitable access to vegetables.

The only USDA certified performance running shoe has a highly cushioned, responsive midsole made of sustainably grown castor beans, a breathable eucalyptus tree upper, a sock liner made of odour-resistant BLOOM algae foam and a durable outsole made from real rubber trees.

“Reebok’s Forever Floatride GROW is made for runners who care about performance and want to feel good about the products they use daily,” said Emily Mullins, Product Director at Reebok. “This shoe is the result of a long journey to create a plant-based running shoe that looks and performs like other best-in-class footwear and can withstand running a marathon.”

Mullins continues, “It’s an important milestone for sustainable performance as making running shoes out of plants is challenging because they need to withstand impact. We have been able to replace petroleum-based plastics that are traditionally used in running shoes with plant-based plastics. We expect to be able to use more plant-based alternatives for our products moving forward and we’ll move fast in this space. We have a responsibility and opportunity to help the planet. It’s the right thing to do.”

Now more than ever, people are becoming conscious of what they purchase in the pursuit of a sustainable and meaningful lifestyle. They’re also paying more attention to how they fuel their body and sustainable farming practices are on the rise as people explore alternative options of getting healthy food.

James Beard award-winning chef Ana Sortun, who is married to Siena Farms owner Chris Kurth and owns three acclaimed restaurants in the Boston area, uses produce from the family farm to craft her menus. Her commitment to plant-based ingredients and healthy food threads through every dish she creates.

“The CSA is an investment to the farmer and a promise to yourself that your daily diet will be full of the best, freshest vegetables from rich, healthy soil,” said Sortun. ”Good cooking starts with good ingredients. A chef’s job is easiest when the ingredients are pure.”

The same can be said for an athlete with the right equipment and uncompromised performance. Sortun’s daughter, 14-year-old Siena Kurth, the farm’s namesake, works on the farm, is equally passionate about sustainability and leads an active lifestyle as a casual runner, horseback rider, and dancer.

“It felt good to run in Reebok’s Forever Floatride GROW,” said Kurth. “They were bouncy and they made running on the rocky dirt roads more comfortable. Most importantly, they are super durable; perfect for running and working around the farm.”

Kurth continues, “Growing up on a farm and learning about different farming methods has impacted my view on the importance of sustainability in many ways. Sustainable living is very important to me because I believe that we have to give back to the environment as much as the environment gives back to us.” Learn more about Ana and Siena here on the Reebok blog.

“I’m impressed that Reebok is setting an example, pushing for change and moving towards a more sustainable material. This is the beginning of a whole new realm of fashion that makes the planet happier,” said Sortun.

Reebok’s sustainability efforts fall under two pillars: [REE]GROW, which focuses on the creation of products from plant-based materials; and [REE]CYCLED, which focuses on creating products using recycled materials. Reebok is committed to reducing virgin polyester from its material mix and eliminating it altogether by 2024.

“We focused on process innovation such as how we make things, who we partner with and where we make them and ended up with a really innovative and unique product,” said Mike Andrews, Advanced Development Director at Reebok. “We conducted extensive testing to ensure athletes wouldn’t feel any difference when running in a plant-based shoe.”

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