The Secret Ingredient Behind My New, Go-With-Everything Spring Sneakers? It’s Corn!
As a viral internet jingle so happily reminded us last summer, there are *so* many reasons to love corn. For starters, it's delicious. It has the juice (*it has the juice*) and, contrary to unpopular opinion, can be a nutritious source source of fiber, protein, and unsaturated fat. But its uses go well beyond just eating. From new approaches in plastics, paper goods, beauty products, and even batteries, corn gets a "gold" star for its eco-friendly versatility.
Add to the list? Corn leather, which just so happens to be the secret ingredient in these spring sneakers you'll want to (and can) wear literally everywhere this spring. Meet the SeaVees SeaChange LTT ($92), the easiest, breeziest white sneakers that go with any outfit, and boast entirely responsibly-made materials throughout its design.
Available sizes: 5-11, in half sizes
For the entire month of April, $5 from any SeaVees footwear purchase goes to SeaTrees to protect and restore blue carbon coastal ecosystems.
If you're not familiar with SeaVees, the California-cool footwear brand got its start in the '60s with its line of casual, any-occasion sneakers. After being shuttered in the 1970s, the brand spent nearly 40 years dormant until 2005, when founder and shoe designer, Steven Tiller, stumbled upon a vintage pair at thrift shop in Tokyo. Tiller brought the brand back to life in 2008, keeping the effortless "West Coast" vibe SeaVees was originally founded on, and expanding it to better serve the people and planet with more sustainable packaging, responsible materials, and a slew of nonprofit partnerships.
But back to the corn: The crop is a cornerstone of the brand's SeaChange collection, particularly the SeaChange LTT sneakers, which swap traditional leather for vegan corn leather on its uppers. Yes, corn. The material is made using a combination of non-food, GMO-free corn grains, as well as recycled polyester from plastic bottles, which are both processed into a bio-based polyurethane and turned into buttery smooth corn leather.
It's one of the more responsible materials you can get your feet into. Since the grains are sourced from non-food corn products, it doesn't divert food resources from human or animal supply chains, nor does it contribute to increased land use and carbon emissions associated with natural leather production. Add in pineapple-yarn laces (made with fibers derived from food waste), natural- and recycled rubber outsoles, and a recycled-cotton canvas lining, they're eco-friendly from lace to sole. And they give back—every pair purchased from the SeaChange collection gives back $1 to SeaTrees, a nonprofit dedicated to combating climate change through sea kelp restoration.
But, they're still a pair of shoes, which means they need to fit right and be comfortable, no matter how responsible they might be. Thankfully, they tick off these boxes, and look cool and casual while doing so.
I have the White/Gum combination and find them to be the ideal "fit" for an everyday spring sneak. They're supportive without looking too sporty or overtly orthopedic, if you know what I mean. That blended-rubber outsole puts pep in every step, while the memory-foam footbed (which is put in all of brand's shoes) allows for extra airflow, so on warm days, I don't have to worry about sweating. And really... they just look cute with nearly every outfit. I can dress 'em up paired with a sundress or exercise dress, wear 'em with leggings and a hoodie, or rock 'em with jeans and T-shirt. For less than $100, they're a sustainable style staple (try saying *that* three times fast) you'll feel good about wearing all spring and summer long.
There's nothing corny about these kicks, except for, well, the kicks themselves. While you're waiting for farmer's market season to get the real golden veggie, snag the next best thing: A pair of corn-leather sneakers that have the juice, too.
More from the SeaVees SeaChange collection
Available sizes: 5-11, in half sizes.
Prefer the ease of a slip-on style? Step into SeaChance Slip Ons, which trade in laces for a totally hands-free design. In addition to a corn-leather upper, each pair boasts a recycled cotton canvas lining, recycled elastic gore, and a blended outsole made with recycled/natural rubber, so you can feel good about slipping them on. Also available in men’s sizes.
Available sizes: 5-11, in half sizes.
The upper on these soft sneakers is made from another golden treat: pineapple. The fabric is knitted from pineapple yarn, a “smooth fiber harvested from pineapple plant waste blended with organic and conventional cotton,” according to the website. Talk about sweet on feet. Also available in men’s sizes.
Available sizes: 5-11
Keep your toes toasty in these plush slippers, which are made in a snuggly soft recycled polyester fleece. You’d never know that the fabric was once water bottles, that’s how heavenly they are to wear, only they’re vegan and keep plastic out of landfills. Also available in men’s styles.
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