Cole Haan just made a sustainable shoe out of dandelions

FFirst we had thrift stores, then we had new clothes made from old clothes, and then we had new clothes made from recycled materials like water bottles. And now? The latest material vying for space in your sustainable capsule wardrobe is… dandelion.

Yes, moody weed is a secret green powerhouse, and Cole Haan is making it the star of his newest pair of sneakers: The Generation ZERØGRAND II. The sustainable footwear uses Cole Haan’s FlowerFoam™ material, made with a minimum of 25% natural dandelion rubber, to create a light-as-air outsole that literally gives your step a boost.

What makes dandelions so sustainable? It all boils down to turning something unwanted (like recycled water bottles or weeds littering your lawn) into something fashionable (like the latest sneakers in your closet).

“For most people, dandelions are a nuisance, so it’s finding a good use for an otherwise unwanted herb,” ​​says Scott Patt, creative director at Cole Haan. “I think the great thing about dandelions and the creation of dandelion rubber is that dandelions are a renewable resource. A lot of the places dandelions grow are places where other crops and things can’t grow “.

As the inaugural shoe in Cole Haan’s Change Forward™ initiative for sustainable innovation and natural design, the company’s model for actively seeking recycled or naturally-sourced materials for its products, the shoe showcases the brand’s ability to combine style, performance and sustainability. . “The ZERØGRAND II Generation for us was the culmination of all those things coming together,” says Patt. The results? Airy shoes with a soft sole that make every step you take a little more comfortable, modern and sustainable.

Buy sustainable shoes

1. They are very elegant

If you’ve been thinking about joining the green fashion club, there really is no better place to start than with your shoes (after all, they’re the foundation of every outfit). But the key here is in fashion green, which is why Patt says the best way to get more people into sustainable fashion is to start with style.

“I think the simple answer is style,” he says. “You’re going to lead with the fact that you want to look good, regardless.” He recommends starting his earth-friendly wardrobe with basics that connect to his daily life, like a pair of go-with-everything sneakers in a sleek silhouette and neutral color palette.

2. Multiple conscious materials

The lightweight FlowerFoam™ is not the only conscious material in the ZERØGRAND II Generation. The shoe’s upper is comprised of 21% recycled content (such as vegan microsuede fiber) and reconstituted felt fabric, known as rPET, made from 85% recycled bottles, says Patt. (FYI: The laces are also 100 percent rPET.) “We are also planning for the future of more sustainable models,” she says. “So as a brand, we continue to deliver on that promise to be more mindful of things we’re doing elsewhere.”

3. The packaging is also conscious

While sneakers are leading the charge for impact, Patt points out that more sustainable packaging was implemented years before sustainable footwear was conceptualized. “Our packaging is made with a minimum of 75 percent post-consumer recycled paperboard,” says Patt. “We also removed any plastic from that packaging.” Here’s to less plastic and more dandelions.

Top photo: Cole Haan and Well+Good Creative

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