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From mushroom leather to clothing made from crab shells, over the last few years many fashion companies have started experimenting with alternative materials in an effort to up their sustainability efforts.
And Cole Haan has just taken a similar step by launching its first-ever sustainable shoe — a sneaker made from dandelions. Yes, you read that right. The new Generation ZERØGRAND II features an outsole fabricated with FlowerFoam, a patent-pending material that's made of at least 25 percent natural dandelion rubber, the brand says.
The shoes are the first step in Cole Haan's Change Forward initiative, which represents the company's desire to use more naturally derived or recycled materials in its products.
"Cole Haan has pioneered a sustainable, performance outsole made from natural dandelion rubber,” David Maddocks, the brand president of Cole Haan said in a release. “We have been redefining footwear for nearly a century and we’ve always sought to bring innovative products to our consumers. Today, and tomorrow, we’re now innovating for their environment through our Change Forward initiative. Our entire company is excited to bring this product to market and transform our product line through this initiative.”
The brand, who sent us a pair to try, calls the sneaker comfortable and lightweight, so it seems like a great pick for everyday wear. The soft, cushioned FlowerFoam outsole is said to absorb impact and provide rebound with every step. And it's also made with temperature-regulating materials and has ventilating details, which the company says will help you stay cool and dry all day.
But the dandelion rubber isn't the only notable eco-friendly aspect of the shoes. According to the brand, the sneaker's upper features a vegan microfiber suede made partially from sustainable materials and a reconstituted felt fabric that's formulated with recycled plastic bottles (rPET). The shoelaces are also made from 100 percent rPET and its Ortholite® Hybrid footbed is made from recycled materials as well, making it an all-around sustainable choice, the brand shared.
The shoes, which launched today, are available on the Cole Haan website and in select U.S. and international stores. They come in a range of colors and are available in both men's and women's sizes.
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