Everlane's New Sneaker Treads Lightly on the Environment

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Since the clothing brand Everlane was founded in 2010, it has achieved great success selling basics for sophisticates: wide-leg pants, cashmere sweaters, silk shirts, and the like. But the label’s ambitions don’t end at defining a fresh silhouette—it has also put substantial effort into a company-wide sustainability initiative. Everlane has created puffer jackets from recycled water bottles, and it’s made its own denim that’s manufactured without polluting dyes.

Everlane’s next project takes its eco-consciousness one step further with a unisex sneaker made from recycled plastic, rubber, and leather. And while its creation is a technological move forward, the styling is not. It looks like something you might see on your grandma, or your colleague who went to art school.

“A sneaker is the footwear foundation of the American uniform,” says Alison Melville, the general manager of Everlane’s footwear and accessories business. “We’ve done t-shirts. We’ve done jeans. Sneakers were the next step.”

With the $98 sneaker, the brand is introducing a new line—Tread by Everlane—and a fresh take on ecological fashion. But building a sneaker from scratch in a way that met Everlane’s commitment to sustainability took two years of development, some creative thinking, and some Jenga-like restructuring of