A Better Shoe For Everything You Do
We have good news and better news! A shift for LANE EIGHT that has been a year in the making, today we’re launching two new colorways, Icy Mint and Pale Birch, both of which usher in a new phase for the Trainer AD 1 as they are the first of our sneakers produced with sustainable and recycled materials. Since we started this brand, there was one glaring reality that we knew we wanted to address, and that’s the idea of sustainability. Going forward, we’re proud to say we’re moving away from all animal-derived materials and will be using more sustainable alternatives while still ensuring our shoes perform at the same level.
The first thing to go was the natural suede paneling, a co-product of the meat industry, which is one of the largest polluters on the planet. Instead, we’re using a microfiber that offers up the same abrasion resistance, but at a lighter weight. With our knit upper, we took an upcycling approach: 11 recycled plastic bottles are fashioned into polyester yarn to create each pair of LANE EIGHTs. Our sock-like fit remains, and that’s fewer bottles waiting out the hundreds of years it takes to decompose. Last but certainly not least, our algae-based BLOOM Algae Foam Midsole is harvested from harmful algae blooms that would otherwise destroy marine ecosystems. This also means that with every pair of LANE EIGHTs produced, 31.5 liters of fresh water is returned to the environment, and 64 cubic meters of carbon is removed from the atmosphere.
The palette for Icy Mint and Pale Birch is no coincidence, inspired by the natural colors from the environment where our algae is harvested.
Want to know more? Here’s a deep dive into the making of our new, more sustainable shoes with LANE EIGHT founders, James and Josh Shorrock.
What was the biggest driving force in making this change?
We’re always working on making our shoes better and better, and we knew that part of that goal was minimizing the impact of our shoes from an environmental standpoint. It’s a little bit trickier to make a more eco-friendly shoe than to develop a shoe using traditional materials and methods of construction, but after launching our first two collections, we were finally in a position to be able to re-develop our signature Trainer AD 1 with new materials that minimize our impact on the planet. It’s a small but important step towards making better shoes not just for our customers, but also for the planet!
What were some of the difficulties in finding eco-materials?
One of the main difficulties any brand faces when switching to a new material is sourcing from a reliable supplier. Consistency is always essential, but often difficult to find. Transparency is also a must. Oftentimes, suppliers will tout a newly developed material without providing all the details of the manufacturing process. In BLOOM (our new algae midsole compound supplier) and Sincetech (our recycled polyester knit supplier), we have found two great partners that have been open and transparent about their sourcing practices from the very beginning.
With a shift in materials, what can be expected in terms of performance?
Finding sustainable versions of existing materials on our shoes was always the main goal. However, we needed to also ensure that the performance wouldn’t be compromised. Our core messaging continues to be that we provide the most versatile performance shoes on the market. With the BLOOM Algae Foam Midsole, we were able to create a blend that allowed us to retain the properties of our previous midsole, so you still have the comfort paired with the stability. Our new knit upper performs exactly the same as our previous knit upper, hugging your feet snugly in place. And our new vegan microfiber overlays still provide you with the same abrasion resistance you had with the suede.
“It’s a little bit trickier to make a more eco-friendly shoe than to develop a shoe using traditional materials and methods of construction, but after launching our first two collections, we were finally in a position to be able to re-develop our signature Trainer AD 1 with new materials that minimize our impact on the planet.”
Will the core collection be getting the eco-treatment?
Yes! We will be incorporating these new materials into the whole range. That includes our core colorways when it comes to restocking.
What are the next steps LANE EIGHT will be taking to create a ‘better shoe’?
In addition to switching to more sustainable materials, we’re also looking to improve our shoes in other areas based on customer feedback. Another big focus for us is improving the overall fit of our shoes to make the Trainer AD 1 more accommodating to all. We’ve been able to achieve this by increasing the area of stretch around or tongue while still retaining the original level of support built into the upper.
We’re always looking at ways to make a better shoe. More and more sustainable materials are being developed in our industry. We can replace existing materials in our shoes with these future-thinking fabrics. We continue to work closely with our material suppliers on new developments, so keep your eyes peeled for updates!