Shoes | August 19, 2020 10:33 am

Review: Can Everlane Dethrone Vans With Its Affordable, Sustainable Sneaker?

The new Forever Sneaker is only $8 more and fully recyclable

A pair of Everlane’s Forever Sneakers after some wear and tear
The new Everlane Forever Sneaker after some wear and tear.

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Products that label themselves as “compostable” and “recyclable” have generally been oversold. It’s a great marketing tactic, giving environmentally conscious consumers the warm fuzzies and assuaging a certain amount of guilt, but the onus is on them (not the company) to dispose of the items properly — which means many end up in the trash anyway.

Everlane is trying to rectify this issue with the Forever Sneaker, the third shoe in its Tread line. We haven’t exactly been over the moon about their first couple footwear releases, but after taking the Forever out for a spin, we think the affordable basics brand might just have a real-deal Vans replacement on its hands.

One look at the Forever Sneaker and you can draw the aesthetic line back to the classic Vans Authentic, but in true Everlane fashion they’ve added their own minimalist twist. There’s no contrast stitching, but the natural-colored rubber sole, Tread-branded heel tab, zig-zag bottom and rustic color options (along with classic black and white) add just enough flair to keep things interesting. As for the sustainability, the upper is a mixture of half recycled cotton canvas and half virgin, and the laces are 100-percent recycled polyester. 

But there are two other reasons to consider picking up a pair instead of another set of Vans.

First, the entire sneaker can be recycled. More importantly though, Everlane is taking on that burden instead of pawning it off on its customers. By partnering with Debrand — one of the more prominent companies that’s popped up in recent years handling responsible disposal of consumer goods — Everlane will take your Forever Sneakers back when they wear out, either at a store or via a prepaid shipping label, and then chop them up into various mats and equestrian flooring (seriously). To be fair, Vans is also exploring a similar initiative, but it’s currently only in a pilot stage in California.

The second reason: They’re just about the same price. During our relatively recent collective awakening to pollution, overconsumption and climate change, a huge barrier has been that eco-friendly products are historically more expensive, whether we’re talking meat alternatives or electric cars. A pair of Forever Sneakers, however, will set you back just $58, a mere $8 more than the Vans Authentic.