In 2015, Greet and Mark co-founded Komrads with the aim of making shoes that are good for the planet. Komrads makes trainers from sustainable and recycled materials, embracing the principles of circular fashion.
To ensure the shoes are produced in good working conditions, Komrads chooses to work with European manufacturers. Production is spread across Portugal, Spain and Italy. Here, manufacturers must comply with European working conditions (no sweatshops, no child labour, fair pay, ...).
Komrads trainers are made entirely from reused and recycled materials. The soles are made out of recycled rubber and coloured with organic paint.
Their APLS collection contains shoes made using apple leather. This material is produced in Italy and is made up of at least 50% recycled apple fibres. These apple fibres are from the Italian apple juice industry’s waste. Unfortunately, vegan apple leather is not strong enough on its own so it is strengthened with a synthetic material, such as polyurethane. This makes the material non-biodegradable and much harder to recycle. Although shoes are always difficult to recycle because of their many different components. Read all about the sustainability of vegan leather here.
There is also the ICNS collection. These trainers are made from a combination of post-industrial recycled cotton and recycled PET bottles (polyester). The outer lining is 100% recycled cotton, while the lining is a blend of the two.
Komrads is also working on launching its new OCNS collection. These shoes will incorporate recycled ocean waste combined with recycled PET bottles (land waste).
At first glance, Komrads appears to be very much a circular brand with its trainers being made from recycled materials. But circularity goes beyond that. Unfortunately, Komrads gives no information on how the trainers themselves, after use, can be recycled. To become more circular, the brand should start taking back old Komrads shoes and using those as raw materials for new products. The soles of Komrads trainers already do this, as the recycled rubber comes from old shoe soles and can also be reprocessed into a new shoe sole after use.
All materials are sourced in the area of the manufacturer where they are processed. All manufacturers are located in Europe (Spain, Portugal and Italy). This leads to a short supply chain, which keeps transport distances and, consequently, greenhouse gas emissions low.
Komrads also has the I Buy Belgian label. This shows that the creative design phase takes place entirely in Belgium.
Komrads trainers are completely vegan. This has even been certified by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals)! Unfortunately, this does not consider the possible release of microplastics from the shoes and the impact this has on marine ecosystems.
Komrad's collections follow the slow fashion model. The designs are timeless and modern. This gives a sporty, neutral shoe that you can match with any outfit. Komrads wants to create shoes that last so uses high-quality materials. The company also has a constantly developing mindset. Komrads promises not to stand still, but to keep looking for sustainable materials and eco-friendly alternatives.
Komrads is working towards "radical transparency". At the moment, unfortunately, there is not that much information about the manufacturers and the exact origin of the materials. The brand does indicate that they are working on this, though so COSH! is curious to see where they go!
Are you looking for a sustainable and modern pair of trainers? Then Komrads is the brand for you! Discover on the map below where you can find these circular shoes.