THE EXTRA MILE
Tredagain gives trash tires new life with its eco-friendly fall ’17 footwear collection.
Austin, Texas-based Tredagain is laying some rubber – in more ways than one. The eco-conscious brand is expanding its footwear collection to make a bigger impact on the environment.
Launched in July 2015 with a flip-flop sandal under the name Austin Footwear Labs, Tredagain re-branded in January 2016 and began working on casual closed-toe shoes to debut in 2017. But one thing has remained the same: Tredagain’s used of APX, a proprietary upcycled rubber substitute made out of tires that have already gone through a full life cycle.
The brand utilizes the material for all its outsoles. Unlike recycled rubbers, APX can be substituted for virgin natural and synthetic rubber compounds, and it makes up half of the Tredagain sole. (By comparison, other eco brands only use about 5 percent recycled tire rubber, according to Tredagain.) For fall ’17, the label will deliver 12 footwear styles for women and seven for men, which will range from $60 to $150.
The looks fall under two lifestyle-oriented categories: a boot line, called Trek; and Whitewall, consisting of one-piece shoes with cupsole construction.
“Our goal is to sell to more people, and the biggest category is lifestyle. The more we sell, the more tires we get out of landfills and streams,” explained Fitz Lee, president of Tredagain.
So far, this casual-shoe focus seems to be paying off for the brand. It is currently sold in roughly 30 independent retail accounts. And Lee predicted that by July, the brand should have more than 100 percent sales growth year-over-year.
However, Tredagain’s growth hasn’t come without challenges. Lee noted that getting the brand’s environmental message to the masses hasn’t been easy, but after two years, it’s beginning to hit a larger audience.
“We haven’t spent a ton of money for marketing: we do it by word of mouth,” he said. “By talking to people at Earth Day, Outdoor Retailer and events like that, we’ve attracted a larger group of customers, which allows us to hit a national level (of awareness), versus an Austin, Texas level.
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"When car tires have traveled around 50,000 miles, they reach the end of the road—and many of them end up in landfills or on the side of the highway. Frustrated by all of the waste, a local company looked for a solution."
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