Everlane is joining the sneaker business.
The almost-decade-old basics company is debuting a new sneaker brand, dubbed Tread, to achieve its mission of removing virgin plastic in its supply chain by 2021. The first Tread style is the Trainer, an everyday sneaker for both men and women. The shoe will be available in seven colors for $98 on April 25.
As part of the rollout, Everlane is taking a page out of Glossier’s playbook and giving Tread its own website, social channels and campaign. The new brand comes after Everlane partnered with The New York Times to create an apparel line promoting climate change journalism.
“We’re just creating a clear story and identity on what sneakers [are],” said Michael Preysman, founder and CEO of Everlane. “You’re never going to see Tread by Everlane carry T-shirts. It’s a sneaker brand.”
In a press release, Everlane states that it chose leather from supplier Saigon TanTec, which uses energy alternatives like solar power. By keeping the sneaker’s sole 94.2% free of virgin plastic, Everlane writes that this method kept 18,000 pounds of rubber out of landfills and used 54% less greenhouse gas emissions. The company also worked with two third-party firms to determine the Trainer’s carbon footprint, and it offset 100% of its emissions by partnering with non-profit Native Energy. The Everlane team is auditing its partnership with NativeEnergy to ensure that the work it’s doing is on par with Everlane’s mission and goals.
Everlane joins in the footsteps of other direct-to-consumer brands like Allbirds and Rothy’s, which create shoes made out of recycled or sustainable materials.
According to Preysman, creating a sneaker was always part of Everlane’s mission of creating the “American basics uniform.” But first, the company needed to figure out what niche Everlane was fitting into. By incorporating sustainability, Preysman said he wants wearers to only get rid of the sneaker “when it’s worn out,” as opposed to “when it’s no longer cool.”
“We’re not in the business of drops, and we’re not in the business of making that an everyday thing,” Preysman said. “We will have new color refreshes that come out on a every few months. We do want our style to stay in style for as long as possible.”
“In a dream world, we would be using vegan leather,” Preysman admitted, but most vegan leather uses synthetic plastic. And at the very least, leather’s “long life” means the sneaker is, ideally, more durable than the rest of those on the market.
“It’s not really about just removing plastic. It’s about the whole impact of the shoe, and that’s why we’re trying to make the lowest impact shoe possible,” Preysman said. “We’re in the business of sustainability, but also in the business of helping people look their greatest.”
As part of the debut of Tread, Everlane is creating a pop-up shop in Downtown Los Angeles from April 26 to May 19. The shop plans on hosting events like small concerts while celebrating “urban street culture.”
But the new brand will still be present in Everlane’s two stores. Giving Tread its own space and debut is along the same reasoning behind giving it its own website and social channels as well: Preysman said he sees Everlane’s brand similar to the Virgin Group, where Virgin America and Power Records were separate brands under one company. It’s why the creative for Tread was less about using Everlane products in each shot and more about letting “people be themselves.”
“We’re launching this as a separate brand because there’s so much work put into a single product, and sneakers are such a defining part of people’s style,” Preysman said. “We felt like it warranted a unique story to the customer and one word that we stood behind the idea continuing to invest in it as a long term vision versus a one time launch.”