Green Fashion: Under the Microscope

Eight brands show off their game-changing green product — and reveal what the future could bring.

Patagonia P26
Lightweight hiker
Spring ’11

The highlights:
• 20% recycled EVA in the footbed/insole, 20% recycled rubber in toe guard
• Performance outsole that combines Vibram’s new EcoStepPlus with virgin rubber
• Recycled zinc lace hooks require substantially less heat (and thus energy) to mold
• All leathers from tanneries that have achieved gold status with the Leather Working Group

The future:
“The challenge was to have a lightweight athletic product that provided the right balance and support and was resolable at the same time. We’re focused on extending product life, by making durable product, making resolable product and offering replacement laces. [Resolability] didn’t work out for this boot, but we do want to offer more solutions going forward.”

Jamie Barbor, GM

Brooks Cascadia 6
Trail runner
Spring ’11

The highlights:
• The shoe has 50% recycled content — 25% of which is post-consumer
• The midsole, rock shield, insole, sockliner and tongue and collar foams all biodegrade 50 times faster than typical versions
• Replacing cushioning with the brand’s new DNA cushioning means fewer machines and factories and less processing time, which saves energy, water and greenhouse gases

The future:
“We’d like to go to clean energy sources at factories, and we definitely know we need to put more into designing these shoes for disassembly, or seeing if we can reuse parts in the future. And reducing our use of raw materials is one of our big goals.”

Derek Campbell, future concepts manager

New Balance 60
Casual Mary Jane style
Spring ’10

The highlights:
• Whole sizes only and a combined midsole/outsole with one density, which means only seven or eight molds were created, not hundreds
• Injection molded blown EVA and extra planning for cutting the upper minimize material waste
• Stitched together using minimal (and water-based) glues
• Natural cork insole

The future:
“Materials are where you can always find something else to improve. The thing is finding something that’s cool and unique but that from a supply and durability standpoint can meet the performance standards we’ve established.”

Bryan Gothie, product manager for outdoor

Timberland Earthkeepers 2.0
6” boot
Fall ’10

The highlights:
• Leather tanned in a BLC gold-rated facility
• Recycled PET in the laces (100%) and linings (45%)
• Green Rubber (using latex for the first time) in outsole has 42% recycled content
• Like all styles in the Earthkeepers 2.0 collection, the boot is designed to be taken apart so it can be returned to Timberland for reuse (50% of it can be reused or recycled)

The future:
“We have made great progress with Earthkeepers 2.0, [but] our goal is to
create a fully cradle-to-cradle product, one that can be completely recycled
and reused.”

Brian Moore, global VP of men’s footwear and outdoor performance

Nike Free Run+
Running shoe
Summer ’10

The highlights:
• No heel counter or toe box, as well as minimized internal layers and seaming, means fewer materials used per shoe
• Water-based solvents
• Nike Regrind recycled rubber in outsole and recycled PET in laces and mesh
• Pattern efficiency reduces waste in manufacturing

The future:
“Our North Star is to create closed-loop product, where we could take the materials from an old shoe and turn them into a new product.”

Lorrie Vogel, GM of Considered program

Simple D-Solve
Casual sneaker
Fall ’10

The highlights:
• Water-based cements
• Organic cotton laces and linings
• Suedes and leather from BLC- and ISO-certified tanneries
• Recycled and natural rubber (30% recycled) and EVA in outsole and midsole is biodegradable

The future:
“We’re looking at every place we can put the [biodegradable additive] Bio.D to good use. We’ve got lots of ideas. We’re the first to admit there are always things we can do to reduce our environmental impact.”

Cielo Rios, product manager

Etnies RSS
Skateable casual style
Holiday ’10

The highlights:
• Outsole is 25% recycled bike tires
• Natural canvas upper
• Recycled material used in strobel board
• Recycled PET laces
• All water-based glues

The future:
“You’ll see organic cotton coming, taking that next step further for spring ’11 [across the line]. We’re trying to take the right steps up the ladder to [create] a fully sustainable shoe.”

Wallace Mills, senior product manager

Terra Plana BARACK
Men’s shoe
Fall ’10

The highlights:
• Using only 12 materials means more efficient production
• Vegetable-tanned leathers
• Stitched-on, glueless construction reduces volatile organic compounds
• Interchangable outsole extends the life of the shoe
• Inner sock made from recycled

The future:
“The end-of-life aspect of shoemaking is kind of overlooked. The biggest disaster is that so many shoes end up in landfills every year. As a company, we’re looking at recycling possibilities — we take shoes back at our own retail locations — and we’re putting a lot of effort into reducing production miles, and traveling less as a company.”

Galahad Clark, owner

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