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Biodegradable and Vegan Sneakers Are Driving Footwear Search Trends, According to Lyst

Consumers are increasingly interested in footwear that is better for the environment.

According to the 2021 conscious fashion report from global fashion shopping platform Lyst, page views for biodegradable sneakers on Lyst increased 348% year-over-year. In the same period, demand for recycled sneakers increased by 55%, with a 67% increase in page views for vegan sneakers following Nike’s launch of the vegan Air Jordan with Billie Eilish earlier this month

The report also showed a 178% jump in page views for the term “vegan leather” in 2021, with sneakers as the most searched category for vegan pieces. Lyst saw a 131% spike in demand year-over-year for plant-dyed pieces and a 38% increase in searches for garments made from mushroom-based materials.

The results highlight a trend toward sustainable and eco-friendly fashion options among consumers. Major footwear brands such as Clarks, Crocs, Nike and Adidas have all announced initiatives to reduce their impact on the environment with new eco-friendly products. In April, Clarks Originals launched vegan versions of its iconic Desert Boot and Wallabee silhouettes. That same month, Adidas said it would look to create more eco-friendly sneakers using Mylo, a substance found in the underground roots of mushrooms. And earlier this month, Crocs began introducing a new bio-based Croslite material into its product lines to help it reach a 50% reduction in its carbon footprint per pair of Crocs shoes by 2030.

Some companies have based their entire business model on this sustainability focus. Allbirds, which was founded in 2015 with a goal to create better-for-the-planet footwear and apparel, said in its August IPO filing that it hopes to lead the way for a “Sustainable Public Equity Offering, or SPO.” This new model involves working with third-party organizations to make sure companies have well-defined environmental and social goals as they go public.

Trends on Lyst also pointed to increased demand for resale. The platform saw a 117% bump in demand for upcycled and recycled items on Lyst year-over-year, with a 321% spike in searches for upcycled jeans.

The secondhand market is set to more than double in size to $77 billion over the next five years, according to ThredUp’s 2021 Resale Report released in June. Peer-to-peer resale platforms like Poshmark and Depop have gained popularity in recent years, with some companies like Lululemon and Patagonia utilizing third party companies like Trove to facilitate resale for their brands.

In tandem with the report, Lyst is featuring six emerging eco-friendly designers in the report and on its website and social media accounts .

“Our role and responsibility is to inspire and empower fashion lovers to make informed shopping decisions,” said Lyst strategy director Nomfundo Mphuthi. “We want to help customers buy better by delivering hyper-personalized recommendations from the world’s largest online assortment.”

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