We are always looking for cool and sustainable brands. We came across Rens, a Finnish brand of athleisure that creates the first sneakers made from coffee grounds and recycled plastic. For its innovative design, the Helsinki-based brand won the 2021 Reddot Award of Outstanding Product Design.

Rens’ coffee sneakers were launched in the summer 2019 and quickly became Finland’s most successful Kickstarter campaign and the largest fashion crowdfunding campaign in the Nordics. In just 45 days, Rens had sold more than half a million euros of sneakers to thousands around the globe.

Rens has been a leading sustainable sneaker brand since then. Although the main markets for Rens are the USA, Finland and Germany, as well as the UK, the sneakers can be found in over 100 countries around the world.

“There was constant encouragement and great feedback from the community from the start,” says Rens CEO, “Many of the comments and wishes have been incorporated into the next performance sneaker model Nomad. It will launch in a Kickstarter campaign in the middle of July.”

What does “Rens” mean?

Many people wonder what the brand’s name means. Here’s the answer: The word Rens has many meanings across the world and shares a common thread between them. Confucianism, originating in the Far East, gives us Ren (without the -s), which describes altruism and the amazing feeling that you get when you do good deeds for others. The word ‘rens’, which is used in the West to mean ‘clean, pure, and unpolluted’, can be found in Scandinavian languages. This combination is what Rens stands for: “Feeling awesome about doing good to people and the environment around them.” explains the young brand.

How do you make coffee grounds sneakers?

To begin with, you will need coffee grounds. This is carbonated and then mixed with six recycled PET bottles. This is accomplished using a high-pressure, low-heat process. This mixture is then used to make the upper material for the shoes.

Why coffee?

Material made from coffee grounds has many benefits. They are antibacterial, odour-resistant and sustainable. Recycled PET is more durable and lasts longer than other plastics and is better for the environment.

The sneakers are lightweight and weigh between 400-650 grams depending on their size. Rens sneakers have a waterproof membrane from recycled polyester that makes them waterproof and breathable. It is suitable for all terrains thanks to its anti-slip rubber sole and toe cap.

What happens to Rens’ sneakers at the end of their lifecycle?

Rens sneakers are made from waste-based materials (used coffee grounds, recycled plastic bottles) which extends the life span of these single-use materials. This helps to gradually reduce waste that ends up going to landfills.

But, due to the current state of recycling technologies, we haven’t yet found an efficient system that allows us recycle sneakers. Rens says that they are constantly researching new technologies and methods to make our brand the most sustainable in sneaker design.

What is the symbolism of the logo?

The sneaker is vegan, made without hooks or eyelets, and designed to be slip-on. This allows you to put it on and take it off quickly and without having to use your hands. The Rens logo is prominently printed on every shoe. It is a hashtag that represents the social media generation.

It is used by people to not only join movements but also to create them and to help build something bigger than themselves. The brand explains that the hashtag “connects individuals, communities and cultures across all ethnicities.”

Where can Rens sneakers be purchased now?

These sneakers can be purchased at the Rens website (rensoriginal.com), and Zalando fashion e-tailer.

In our strongest markets (USA and UK, EU countries like Germany, Finland, etc.), we are currently focusing our efforts on the direct-to-consumer model. We are also in talks with wholesalers in countries such as Japan, Singapore, and Latin America in order to make our products more accessible worldwide. Rens was founded as a digital-native global brand. However, we intend to grow into an omnichannel brand that can be later sold in brick-and-mortar stores.

These sneakers come in black, white, and beige as well as red, blue, red, and pink sizes. Each pair costs 119 US Dollars or 119 Euros (approximately 95 British Pounds).

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