On Running, a shoe company affiliated with Roger Federer, is carving out a unique space among runners with a shoe you can swap out for a new pair whenever they get too run-down.
Its new shoe, the Cyclon, is recyclable and made from castor beans. Castor oil, long used for medicinal purposes, also gets repurposed for soaps, lubricants, plastics, and other materials.
The shoes will only be available in white to cut back on chemical dyes. On Running will treat each region it ships to separately, requiring that an area has 5,000 subscribers before beginning the subscription program there.
Other brands have dabbled in eco-friendly shoes and shoe subscriptions.
- Adidas debuted a recyclable shoe in 2019 and committed to making 11 million shoes from repurposed marine plastic waste that year. The brand also said it would use only recycled polyester whenever possible in its shoes by 2024.
- Nike offers a $20/month kids shoe subscription, as children grow out of their shoes quickly.
- A number of online retailers such as Jetsole, Sneakertub, and JustFab offer monthly shoe subscriptions.
The Cyclon will be available in the fall, but On Running is building its subscriber list now by collecting one-month down payments of $29.99.
Running has grown more popular during the pandemic, and On Running hopes to capture the momentum around fitness, eco-friendly products, and subscription services to propel its offering.