Saucony sneakers for women, the Triumph RFG are the company’s most sustainable yet with plant-based, not plastic-based materials.
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More and more sustainable sneakers are flooding the market from legacy and debut brands. These performance shoes boost innovative and biodegradable materials that aim to reduce their CO2 emissions by moving away from virgin plastic materials while also being more durable than previous models. Recently, Saucony, a global performance running lifestyle brand, launched its latest shoe, the Triumph RFG (Run For Good). It features a corn-based PWRRUN BIO+™ midsole, with 55% of it made from bio-based Susterra® propanediol. The Triumph RFG represents Saucony’s commitment to have 90% of its products contain organic, recycled, or renewable materials by 2025, and reach 100% by 2030.
So, just how close are Saucony sneakers for women to reducing their CO2 emissions and reliance on fossil fuel-based materials?
The Environmental Impact Of Running Shoes
As the footwear industry produces a staggering 22.2 billion pairs of shoes each year, a 2013 lifecycle assessment at MIT estimated that the average pair of running shoes generates 30 lbs of CO2 emissions. While a lot of those emissions are attributed to the manufacturing process, materials extraction also plays a key role. A typical pair of running shoes comprises 65 discrete parts requiring more than 360 processing steps to assemble, from sewing and cutting to injection molding, foaming, and heating.
Because of this complexity of materials and construction, most running shoes are unrecyclable. Even if one part is recyclable, disconnecting them at the time of disposal is not a common practice for consumers. With life spans of several weeks to a few months, billions of pairs of shoes are added to landfills at an unsustainable rate. Once in landfills, microplastics (small plastic particles from plastic-based materials such as nylon) deteriorate slowly while leeching toxic chemicals into our soil and water resources.
Saucony sneakers for women that replace materials like nylon, polyester, thermoplastic, and polyurethane with plant-based materials like cotton are one part of the equation to reduce the industry’s reliance on fossil fuels. Choosing cotton uppers and laces instead of plastic can reduce a company’s CO2 emissions and the toxicity of decomposition in landfills.
Key Features of the Triumph RFG
The Triumph RFG is a running shoe that incorporates plant-based dyes in the upper and a 55% corn-based PWRRUN BIO+™ midsole foam. The midsole foam is made with Susterra® propanediol, a 100% regeneratively grown, dent corn-based 1,3-propanediol. The outsole, made from 80% natural rubber, offers the same level of performance as a synthetic sole.
John Hurban, the vice president of global marketing and sales at CovationBio™ PDO, explains the significance of this collaboration, “We believe runners and fitness enthusiasts will benefit from increased high-performance shoe flexibility, comfortability, and durability. This shoe sizes up against the competition and goes the distance to have a lighter environmental footprint.”
The Triumph RFG boasts several standout features:
- PWRRUN BIO+ Cushioning: The shoe’s midsole is 55% corn-based, thanks to Susterra® propanediol. This innovative material significantly reduces the shoe’s dependence on plastic, contributing to a greener future.
- PWRRUN BIO+ Sockliner: The Triumph RFG comes with a PWRRUN+ sockliner for added comfort during runs.
- Durable Gum Rubber Outsole: The 80% natural rubber outsole provides the same level of performance as a synthetic sole while minimizing environmental impact.
- Breathable Mesh Upper: The Triumph RFG features a breathable mesh upper made of cotton using plant-based dyes, further reducing the shoe’s carbon footprint.
- Comfortable Fit: The soft collar and padded tongue ensure a 360-degree fit and feel, delivering unmatched comfort during workouts.
Saucony Sneakers Carbon Footprint
A commitment to use plant-based materials is an initiative that minimizes the CO2 footprint of Saucony sneakers for women. Considering the prevalence of plastic-based performance footwear that has dominated the industry in years past, these sustainable initiatives should be celebrated. But, they are still only part of the equation.
Experts like Vikas Khanna, Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, caution consumers to understand that materials are only a small part of what makes a shoe sustainable. “It is important to keep in mind that material substitution strategies alone may not be sufficient in reducing the environmental impact of products,” Khanna says. “For example, switching to renewable material sources may alone not be sufficient for products that involve high manufacturing energy requirements.”
There are multiple areas that a company must look at to make a sustainable shoe- raw materials, sourcing, manufacturing, end-of-life, etc. Saucony’s parent company, Wolverine, released information about reducing its energy consumption in its 2020 Impact Report:
• Since 2015, we’ve powered all of our North America facilities by renewable energy.
• Most Wolverine Worldwide buildings are lit by energy- efficient bulbs, which are responsibly recovered and recycled at the end of life.
• To reduce gas and electricity, our Michigan facilities are run by computer-based energy management systems.
• In 2019, we installed a lighting management software system in our newly remodeled Central Stores building allowing us to efficiently monitor lighting usage, drive lighting efficiencies, and reduce energy consumption while extending lamp life.
Learning the facts about what contributes to a product’s CO2 emissions can help us, as consumers, make a better choice in choosing the most sustainable option available.
Susterra® Propanediol: A Sustainable Solution
Susterra® propanediol, derived from regeneratively-grown dent corn, is a certified 100% bio-based product. It offers high-performing, sustainable solutions for a wide range of polyurethane applications. This bio-based alternative to petroleum-based components brings numerous benefits, including improved flexibility, tear strength, durability, adhesion properties, softness, transparency, and enhanced abrasion resistance. Moreover, Susterra® propanediol generates up to 48% fewer greenhouse gas emissions cradle-to-gate compared to its petrochemical-sourced alternative, 1,4-butanediol (BDO).
About CovationBio™ PDO
CovationBio™ PDO, the world’s largest producer of 100 percent bio-based 1,3-propanediol, is at the forefront of sustainable innovation. Transforming plant-based feedstock into high-performance products, CovationBio™ PDO offers solutions that contain Susterra® propanediol and Zemea® propanediol. By utilizing nature as a source, CovationBio™ PDO contributes to reducing the need for petroleum-based components and improving product performance.