For sneakerheads also interested in helping to save the planet, Thousand Fell, a new sustainable shoe brand, is all about that post-wear life. The New York-based company, launched last month by cofounders Stuart Ahlum and Chloe Songer, features unisex sneakers—in lace-up or slip-on styles—crafted from 12 sustainably sourced materials, including aloe vera, coconut, sugar cane, and recycled water bottles. The shoes are designed so that once the wearer has retired them, they can be easily disassembled and each element recycled, biodegraded, or upcycled. Its sneakers aren’t destined for a landfill, but instead are transformed into usable materials that are reintroduced into the brand’s supply chain. (Thousand Fell notes that any materials it’s unable to use are donated to partners and incorporated into secondary supply chains.)
With this circular model in place, the recycling onus is on the brand. Once a customer has worn out their pair (a friendly recycling reminder message appears on the bottom of each shoe’s outsole), they can return the shoes for free using a prepaid shipping label. From there, Thousand Fell determines if a pair can be refurbished—those are donated to Nashville, Tennessee-based nonprofit Soles4Soles—or broken down and recycled. A customer nabs a credit toward a future purchase when they return their sneaks and gets to see exactly where those broken down materials went for their second act.
“So many of us have high frequency basics, like our favorite white sneakers, that we wear on repeat, but inevitably have to discard at some point,” Songer says in a press release. “We wanted to take ownership of product end of life, so our customers can feel confident about their purchase and impact.”
The modern styles are made with white vegan leather and feature five accent color options. They’re decked out with an aloe vera mesh lining and a recycled rubber yoga mat insole for extra comfort. Here’s to recycling—landfills are so last season.