It took a while, but Reebok's first plant-based shoes are ready for your feet -- the company is now selling limited numbers of the NPC UK Cotton + Corn through its website for $95 a pair in unisex sizes. You'll have to be happy with a lone "natural/chalk" color combo, but you can feel better knowing that 75 percent of the shoe is made from USDA-certified biological material. The upper is made entirely of the shoe's namesake cotton, while the sole is made from a corn-derived biobased TPU (DuPont's Susterra Propanediol). Even the insole is made from castor bean oil, and Reebok avoids using dyes to maintain the shoe's eco-friendly credentials.
More Cotton + Corn shoes are still in the works, the company said, although it didn't drop hints as to when you'll have more options.
The NPC UK isn't so kind to the environment that you can toss it in the compost heap and expect everything to degrade. It's much more sustainable than the usual oil-based foam and rubber you often see in shoes, though. And in some ways, Reebok didn't have much choice but to offer green footwear. Rivals are pursuing their own alternatives, such as Adidas' plan to use only recycled plastic. A low environmental impact is now a selling point, and Reebook risked being left behind if it didn't make an effort to protect the planet.