These cool kicks are a fascinating blend of waste materials, put to good use.
If you thought it wasn't possible to love coffee any more, then you probably haven't heard about Rens sneakers, which are made from coffee. That's right – your favorite drink, your morning fuel, can now also be worn on your feet. Talk about putting some spring in your step!
Based in Helsinki, Finland, Rens is finally launching its initial line of sneakers on Kickstarter today after two years of careful design work. The shoes caught my eye because of their innovative materials – coffee and recycled plastic, to be precise. These are manipulated in such a way to produce a shoe that is breathable, waterproof and sustainable.Used coffee grounds are spun into a yarn that is odor-proof, UV-blocking, quick to dry, and antibacterial (yes, you can wear them without socks if you want). It's used in the removable insole, the inner lining, and the knit upper – roughly 300 grams per shoe, which is equivalent to the grounds used for 21 cups of coffee. The grounds are collected from 7/11 convenience stores.
Recycled plastic is used to make a waterproof membrane that's watertight yet breathable, and a knit material that is lightweight and stretchy, while still giving real support. From a press release, "It doesn't feel like an aqua-sock; it feels like a real shoe." Each shoe contains the equivalent of 6 plastic water bottles.
The entire upper is made from recycled materials, and eventually the sole will be too. As co-founder Jesse Tran explained to TreeHugger via email,
"The sole is currently made from condensed EVA (Ethylene-vinyl acetate). However, we've successfully developed a new sole (midsole and outsole) made from Recycled EVA (from other shoes' soles) instead of Virgin EVA. This new sole will be implemented in the next version of Rens since the schedule is too tight for us to implement it now in this first production run."
I am a fan of any footwear company that prioritizes the use of recycled materials. With the sheer amount of waste that exists in the world today, it makes no sense to use virgin material and drive further resource extraction.
Rens come in 8 colors. They are vegan, unisex, hand-washable, and have a 1-year warranty. You can learn more on Kickstarter, where prices are 40% reduced until the campaign ends.