In case you haven't noticed, "plant-based" is basically ~the new black~ when it comes to healthy food, diet, and personal care products. Interest in veganism is on the rise (just ask Google Trends), and more non-vegans are interested in living largely plant-based lifestyles. (Say hello to flexitarianism.) In fact, the plant-based food and beverage market now exceeds $4.9 billion in the U.S., with sales growing more than 3.5 percent since last year, according to Food Business News, who also reported that the number of products launched with the "plant-based" label reached 320 in 2016, compared to 220 in 2015 and 196 in 2014. (Even Baileys launched vegan booze, you guys.)
But food isn't the only area where plant-based products are on the rise. Reebok is pioneering the plant-based shoe trend by creating the first-ever compostable athletic shoe made from cotton and corn. Reebok's Future Team (the group developing the Cotton + Corn initiative) is dedicated to creating a bio-based shoe with a top made from organic cotton and a sole made from corn. Eventually, their goal is to create a whole range of plant-based shoes that you can compost after you're done with them. Then they plan to use that compost as part of the soil used to grow new materials for shoes.
"Reebok is trying to clean up the entire life cycle of shoemaking: from what shoes are made of to where they end up," says Bill McInnis, vice president of Reebok's Future Team, in a release. "Typical shoes are made from oil-based plastics that can sit around in landfills for hundreds of years when you're done with them. We're focusing on creating shoes made from things that grow, made from things that bio-compost, made from things that can be replenished." (ICYMI, shoe companies are also storming the market with eco-friendly wool sneakers.)
Wondering how corn will be used to produce that cushy, springy sole you love in your workout sneaks? Just thank science. Reebok partnered with DuPont Tate & Lyle Bio Products (a manufacturer of high-performance bio-based solutions) to use Susterra propanediol, a pure, petroleum-free, nontoxic, 100 percent USDA-certified bio-based product derived from corn.
There's no set release date yet, but keep an eye out for Reebok's big announcement later this year. (And in the meantime, stock up on these sustainable fitness clothes for the ultimate feel-good outfit.)