Just Cause It’s Recycled Doesn’t Mean It’s Sustainable!


Taylor Ford

This or That

August 30, 2021

I’m always on the lookout for the perfect pair of everyday shoes. Considering I wear them literally every. single. day, I’m looking for a good shoe that will withstand the test of time. We all witnessed the Nike Air Force 1 craze that happened a couple years ago, but did you know that Nike also released a different version of the Air Force 1s known as “Nike Air Force 1 Crater?” 

The Nike Air Force 1 Craters are a little bit different than your average shoe. About 20% of the shoes is made from Nike Grind rubber. Now I know you’re wondering... what the heck is Nike Grind? 

Nike Grind is Nike’s attempt at creating a circular waste system, where they take scraps from the manufacturing process, sample or defective shoes, and other waste and use them to create new materials. Nike also has a Reuse-A-Shoe program, where people can return their worn down Nike shoes to be used for Nike Grind.

Initially, this sounds pretty cool, fun, and innovative... until you look a little deeper. Nike only has two Nike Grind factories, one in Tennessee and one in Belgium, meaning ALL the scrap rubber has to be shipped to one of these centers from their factories all around the world. That is soooo much carbon emissions it hurts to think about.  

Having to internationally ship materials from different companies and retail locations, process them, AND ship out the rubber for various products is extremely counterproductive to reducing environmental impact, ESPECIALLY when the Air Force 1 Craters only contain a small percentage of recycled materials. I would say it might even create MORE of a negative impact than just using virgin materials... Nike, make it make sense! 

This is vastly different from the Veja Nova White Black sneakers. First of all, these shoes actually cost LESS than Nike’s coming in at 100 USD rather than 110 USD, which is a huge plus from me, especially for something that’s more sustainable. Veja has an impressive history of transparency, going as far as to state how much they pay the producers of their materials! Something I always LOVE to see. 

Even though their shoes do not contain any recycled materials, it is clear Veja puts more effort into sustainability than Nike with their fair production chain, investment in research, and use of organic materials. So if you’re looking for a new pair of shoes, go for the Vejas, you’ll be helping your wallet AND the environment!  

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