Dr. Scholl’s Sources Rice Husks, Algae for New Sneaker Collection

Dr. Scholl’s Sources Rice Husks, Algae for New Sneaker Collection
(Photo: Dr. Scholl’s Herzog Sustainable Sneaker from the new collection. Credit: Dr. Scholl’s Shoes)

The design team at Dr. Scholl’s Shoes turned to unconventional materials for producing sustainable sneakers in the brand’s spring 2019 collection. They sourced rice husks, algae-based foam, and repurposed leather to make the footwear.

New sustainable sneakers for men and women, called the Howe and Herzog, were added to the brand’s Original Collection. Earlier this year, Dr. Scholl’s introduced an eco-conscious men’s sneaker in collaboration with Saint Louis rapper and producer Mvstermind. The colorful laceups have knit fabric and linings made from recycled bottles as well as plant-based foam and sustainable leather.

Andee Burton, product development manager for Dr. Scholl’s Shoes, detailed how the brand pursued more sustainable shoes. Rice husks in the outsole reduce the use of petroleum-based synthetic rubber, she said. “The fabric is made of 80% recycled bottles, the leather is repurposed and chrome-free, and all the linings are 100% cotton, which is decomposable, unlike polyester,” she added.

For the midsole, the Dr. Scholl’s Shoes team replaced traditional ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) with an algae-based foam. “We’re taking the algae from environments in the US and China where the algae is suffocating fish, plants, and other microorganisms living in the water,” Burton said. “This shoe is our beacon of light.”

Dr. Scholl’s Shoes reports that, for their spring 2019 collection, the brand has invested in planting more than 6,000 trees, diverted more than 8,000 plastic bottles from landfills, is using more than 100,000 yards of sustainable materials, and saving more than 1 million square feet of plastic.

In addition to the shoes, the company plans to reduce their packaging inside the box as well as introduce packaging made from recyclable materials and soy-based inks. They anticipate sending orders in one box whenever that’s possible, and swapping plastic shoe sticks for bamboo ones.

The 4th Annual Environmental Leader & Energy Manager Conference takes place May 13 – 15, 2019 in Denver. Learn more here.

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