Daily Insights

The Sustainable Sneaker Drop

By: Aadvik Jetley | Apr 23, 2019

In celebration of Earth Day, Everlane launched its sneaker line “Tread”, cementing a movement to create “the world’s lowest impact, carbon neutral sneakers” in a market where most sneakers take an inordinate amount of energy and plastic to produce and eventually end up in landfills. Here’s how the sneaker is not only a step up for the planet, but for Everlane’s digital and sneaker strategy.

Everlane’s unique launch strategy for the new sneaker started online with an announcement on its site, waitlist sign up emailed to consumers ahead of the launch, and a new Instagram handle for the product line. The brand teased the line a week in advance of Earth Day, toying with consumers who’ve long awaited it and building up buzz. The product itself features a sole with only 6% virgin plastic and leather from a tannery with a gold certification from the Leather Working Group, which rates environmental friendliness.

In the past, Everlane has demonstrated an affinity for sustainable wear. In fact, the brand’s new line comes just after the debut of its ReNew collection late last year—a line of thirteen cold-wear apparel styles for women and men made from recycled water bottles. The collection was also the first measure in Everlane’s recently disclosed commitment to eliminate all virgin plastic from its supply chain by 2021. To kick off its new commitment, the brand sent both broad and targeted emails that educated consumers about plastic waste and highlighted omnichannel elements by announcing the ReNew Concept Shop.

To promote ReNew, Everlane employed a digital-first strategy complete with a multi-thousand person waitlist—something the brand has been known to dole out. The brand also made sure to do up social platforms. Facebook posts related to the ReNew campaign accounted for 75% of Everlane’s total interactions and video views that month. For the week leading up to and the week after the launch, all Instagram posts were related to the ReNew campaign, garnering higher engagement than Everlane’s average interactions per post. The brand even dedicated the majority of Instagram Highlight real estate to the campaign, with five of the brand’s nine Instagram Highlights focusing on ReNew.

As such, Everlane’s interest in a larger purpose, plus its radical transparency around pricing and factories, have long been a core component of its ethos according to Gartner L2’s recent corporate social responsibility report. Brands looking to get more out of product launches can learn from the brand’s digital and sustainable campaign approach. Typically, the direct-to-consumer brand has been known for its apparel basics, but the launch of Tread could allow it to get a foot in the door with core sneaker labels like Nike and Adidas.