Reebok hits the ecotrail with plant-based running shoe

The Reebok Forever Floatride GROW

Reebok has unveiled a plant-based running shoe made with castor beans, algae, eucalyptus trees and natural rubber.

The sportswear giant's new ‘Forever Floatride Grow' model, which swaps petroleum-based plastics for natural materials in a bid to offer a more sustainable product, is set to launch in Fall 2020.

The shoe, which is an updated version of Reebok's Forever Floatride Energy sneaker, features a highly cushioned, responsive midsole made from sustainably-grown castor beans, a naturally biodegradable eucalyptus tree upper and a sockliner made from Bloom algae foam. Its natural rubber outsole has been sustainably sourced from real rubber trees.

"The biggest challenge in making a shoe like this was developing plant-based materials that could meet the high performance needs of runners," said Bill McInnis, Vice President, Reebok Future, in a statement. "During the three years we spent developing this product, we heard loud and clear that the idea of a plant-based running shoe resonates strongly with serious runners. But those same runners felt just as emphatically that they would never compromise on performance. The Forever Floatride Grow is the result."

The Forever Floatride Grow builds on Reebok's Cotton + Corn lifestyle collection of bio-based footwear. "Our Cotton + Corn collection was the first step in making shoes from things that grow," explained Matt O'Toole, Reebok Brand President. "Now, we have taken an award-winning running shoe, the Forever Floatride Energy, and reinvented it using natural materials to create what we feel is the most sustainable performance running shoe on the market."

The launch is the latest in a series of sustainability-focused moves by Reebok, which has pledged to eliminate virgin polyester from its material mix by 2025. The brand isn't alone in its efforts to make running shoes more environmentally friendly -- earlier this year, Adidas unveiled ‘Futurecraft.Loop,' a 100% recyclable performance shoe whose raw materials can be repurposed again and again. The shoe is currently part of a global beta program.