I was THAT student who was quite convinced that they had developed a tolerance to caffeine due to the large amounts of coffee consumed to fuel peer reviews and midterm papers. Although I have sworn not to consume caffeine for health reasons – it’s been running through my veins for two years! – I still have a love for all things coffee. This is why my devoted cup of Joe’s heart was very intrigued to learn that the Rens Original shoes, launched in 2019 by Jesse Tran and Son Chu, both Vietnamese and living in Finland, were made from coffee waste. .
Regarding logistics, each pair of Rens sneakers consists of six recycled plastic bottles and 150 grams of coffee grounds. The outsole is made of natural rubber and the yarn derived from coffee waste contains anti-bacterial and anti-odor properties. “Ren” also means “clean” or “pure” in many major Scandinavian languages. Let’s talk about sustainable! The information is comfortable and breathable too, while being waterproof, so you can jump in puddles if you want (I wore my pair in the rain a few times to see for myself).
The specific shoes I received were Rebel black ($ 119), and the slip-on style is handy when I go shopping, when I walk (read: to be walked by) my dogs, or when I just need a whiff of something unique to turn a bland outfit into a bold one. The smack dab hashtag symbol on the upper of the shoes is not a detail normally found on shoes, and Tran told POPSUGAR that he represents the community and a movement worth joining. But I’m all for carrying a message where the world can see.
Rens’ efforts have been funded by crowdfunding since the beginning, and now Tran and Chu are launching a new sneaker called Nomad, also made from coffee scraps but designed as a performance sneaker with laces and extra features. Although I wore my Rens on a treadmill climb, the Nomads, who have a crowdfunding campaign already underway, are meant for activities like running and “anything in between,” Tran said. He noted that Rens, on the other hand, is an “urban, everyday shoe“despite the fact that many consumers use them for dancing and certain gym sessions.
“What we want to convey with Rens is something really nervous, really intense,” Tran said. “And so this is a lasting brand for the daring generations.” As a sneaker startup that’s changing the production game by turning caffeine into a cause to ‘lighten’ our environmental footprint, Rens is doing it with shoes that come in a variety of colors. They attract attention, make statements and are different. And different. . . well, different is good.