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See Everlane’s first sneaker. It’s green, cheap, and so normcore-chic

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Sneakers are the shoe of our time, as comfortable as they are stylish, with countless variations possible. “Sneakers have become part of the American uniform,” says Allison Melville, Everlane’s general manager of footwear and accessories. “We think of them as a closet staple, along with jeans and T-shirts.”

But sneakers also have a very large environmental footprint. Today, Everlane is unveiling an eco-friendly sneaker, dubbed the Trainer, that has been designed with as little virgin plastic as possible, and is also carbon neutral. In keeping with Everlane’s normcore aesthetic, the shoe is basic and monochromatic, with a classic running shoe silhouette. It costs $98, and comes in a range of colors from navy to pink to yellow.

[Photos: Everlane]According to Francois Souchet, the fashion lead at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which is working toward a circular economy, sneakers are problematic for the environment because they are made of so many different components that are glued together. “The challenge with sneakers is the complexity of the assembly and materials,” he says. “A sneaker may have up to 80 different components.”

Related: Everlane’s founder vowed to remove all new plastic from the brand’s supply chain by 2021. Now he has to figure out how

This means that to make a single pair of shoes, a company must ship leather, rubber, plastic-based foam, and other tiny pieces from around the world, which are then glued and sewn together. According to a life-cycle assessment made by MIT’s material systems labs, a pair of sneakers generates 13.6 pounds of CO2 emissions, which is the same as leaving a 100-watt light bulb on for an entire week. All of this adds up when you consider the sheer number of sneakers that are produced every year. The global athletic footwear market is valued at $64.3 billion, and is expected to grow by 5% between 2018 and 2025. By some estimates, Nike alone makes 25 shoes every second.

The good news is that there’s awareness among consumers that........

© Fast Company