Monday, December 11, 2023

Saucony Taps the Plant Kingdom for Its Most Sustainable Running Shoe


Sportswear giant Saucony has revealed its most environmentally friendly running shoe, the Triumph Run For Good (RFG) sneaker.

The new sneaker’s design features a collection of plant-based materials — a move the Massachusetts-based footwear company says marks a considerable step toward its ambitious sustainability goals.

The RFG includes a midsole foam and sock liner constructed from 55 percent corn-based PWRRUN BIO+, along with an 80 percent natural rubber sole. The upper portion of the sneaker features mesh colored with plant-based dyes, offering performance comparable to conventional synthetic products.

A growing number of shoe manufacturers have tapped corn including the Leonardo DiCaprio-backed Løci and Italian luxury label Valentino.

Rob Griffiths, global brand president, reflected on Saucony’s 125-year history, emphasizing how the brand has long been dedicated to creating a positive impact on the world. “The future of our sport depends on the future of our planet, and we know we can do better for ourselves and the earth,” he said in a statement. Griffiths further articulated that Saucony’s commitment to innovation and research is driven by the understanding that “there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.”

saucony running shoe
Saucony’s newest running shoe is its most sustainable yet | Courtesy

Saucony has made consistent progress toward its commitment, evidenced by its spring 2020 apparel, which consisted largely of organic, recycled, or renewable materials. In 2021, the brand introduced the Jazz Court RFG sneaker, which was made with seven natural materials and no plastic. It also partnered with Los Angeles-based recycling body Ambercycle on a line of running tops containing 23 percent regenerated polyester called Cycora.

Saucony’s commitment to sustainability extends beyond individual products. The company recently updated its environmental targets, noting that by 2025, 90 percent of its products will be composed of organic, recycled, or renewable materials. By 2030, the goal is for 100 percent of its products to contain these preferred materials.

The RFG Standard, a new baseline measurement, has been introduced to gauge whether a product aligns with the brand’s sustainability objectives. The Triumph RFG, along with other products, will carry the RFG Badge to signify adherence to these standards.

Corn is just one of the plant materials in the Triumph RFG
Corn is just one of the plant materials in the Triumph RFG | Courtesy Saucony

Brian Moore, Saucony’s senior vice president of global product, highlighted the balance between environmental responsibility and performance in its athletic gear. “What we use to make our footwear and apparel has a big impact on our environmental footprint,” Moore explained, emphasizing the focus on natural and recycled materials. He added that the Triumph RFG sneaker demonstrates that it is possible to uphold essential performance traits while embracing sustainable materials, “with the added goal of ensuring that the product remains affordable for the consumer.”

The Triumph RFG is not just an isolated initiative but a part of the brand’s overarching commitment to ecological sustainability, Moore said. “Saucony continues to make progress in its sustainability journey, and the Triumph RFG is just one of many Saucony styles to be reimagined with the future of the planet at the forefront.”

The eco running shoes will be offered in various sizes for men and women, priced at $160, and will be available from September 5th.

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