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Sneaker start-up Rens looking to raise 1 million US dollars

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Image: courtesy of Rens

Finnish sustainable sneaker start-up Rens, which makes shoes made from coffee grounds, is looking to raise 1 million US dollars with a Kickstarter campaign to fund the manufacture of its new Nomad shoe, which represents a revolution in eco-design.

The company’s founders, Jesse Tran and Son Chuis are pioneering the use of recycled materials in performance shoes and its latest iteration, the Nomad, is constructed from a composite material made from recycled coffee grounds and recycled plastic, utilising recycled products and by-products.

The Nomad is the second generation of sneaker Rens has developed and follows the success of the Original shoe launch in 2019, also funded via a Kickstarter campaign that hit 500,000 US dollars.

This time around, the start-up is aiming to become Finland’s biggest Kickstarter to date, with a target of 1 million US dollars, which will be used to manufacture and distribute the shoes.

Rens states that by launching again on Kickstarter that it is “putting the customer first” as it allows them to give real-time feedback, and by pledging before manufacturing it means that it “drastically” cuts down on factory overrun, production waste and transportation emissions.

Backers of the Kickstarter campaign will receive pairs of Nomad shoes dependent on their investment. Super early bird pricing will start at 89 US dollars for the first eight hours, before moving to an early bird price of 109 US dollars. Investors can also add on Rens coffee socks and shoelaces.

Image: courtesy of Rens

Rens launches Kickstarter campaign to fund new ‘Nomad’ sustainable sneaker

The tech-heavy, waterproof, ultralight Nomad sneaker has been designed with performance in mind and has stood up to hiking, walking, and running trials under a number of conditions, explains the brand.

It will also feature new patented ‘skystep’ ventilation technology in the midsoles, where precision air intakes are placed at the heel and sole for increased ventilation and breathability in every step while maintaining total waterproof protection.

Other features include a duo foam insole made with memory foam for “ultra-comfort,” a heel counter with shock-absorbing and foot-stabilising to maximise comfort and protection, as well as a combogrip sole, using a combination of strategically placed traction patterns for an ultra-anti-slip sole.

Image: courtesy of Rens

The Nomad is also 100 percent waterproof as it utilises the brand’s new and improved AquaScreen Tech 3, a waterproof membrane combined with a laminated layer between the upper flyknit and the lining to ensure that the inside of Nomad stays “totally dry”. The Nomad is also moisture-wicking so they absorb foot sweat and spread it through the fibres.

The sneaker is an update on the Original following customer feedback and is “more sleek and fashionable” while still being durable and sustainable. Each pair of shoes is made from 21 cups of used coffee grounds and 6 recycled plastic bottles.

Jesse Tran, chief executive and founder, Rens, said in a statement: “What better way to reduce your carbon ‘footprint’ than with a shoe designed with the environment in mind? We’re super proud and incredibly excited to be back raising capital for the latest iteration of our product.

“We’ve listened and learnt from the first time around and couldn’t be happier. We want to prove that there is another way – that fashion and performance needn’t come at the cost of the planet.”

Image: courtesy of Rens

Rens partners with ClimatePartner to reduce and offset all climate emissions

Rens states that this sneaker is an environmental statement, designed to combat plastic pollution and food waste, as part of its mission to extend the life cycle of existing products, while reducing the need for landfill by producing the ultimate sustainable sneaker. So far, Rens have recycled over 250,000 plastic bottles and 750,000 cups of used coffee.

Tran added: “As environmental awareness increases, so too does knowledge of the circular economy. Shoes made from recycled coffee grounds may seem novel to some, but we wholeheartedly believe that this is just the beginning of a revolution in garment technology and manufacturing.

“Plastic pollution and food waste present real problems – reducing them is not just an ambition, it’s a necessity.”

To become the world’s first climate-neutral sneaker, Rens are also working with Climate Partner to offset all climate emissions from production, packaging, distribution and shipping. With the Climate Neutral Product label, ClimatePartner guarantees that all climate emissions of the product will be calculated, reduced and offset via recognised and meaningful carbon offset projects.

The Nomad will be available in nine colourways, including midnight black, varsity black, skywave blue, white snow, red rush and smoke grey, and there are three colours as part of the upgrade ‘Rare Earth’ collection in jade, onyx and pearl.

Image: courtesy of Rens
Image: courtesy of Rens
Climate Partner
Sustainable Footwear