We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: fruit is the future. Or part of it, at least and certainly when it comes to alternative materials replacing animal-based leathers and planet-polluting plastics.
Usually generated from agriculture waste – with the exception of QWSTION’s Bananatex product, which comes from a self-sustaining crop of its own – fruit makes for a cruelty-free and lower-impact solution to many of fashion’s problems. It’s imperfect – many fruit-based leathers are still coated with polyurethane for durability – but it’s certainly progress.
Which seems to be the line of thinking taken by Amsterdam-based sneaker brand Mercer. It’s latest offering, a re-tooling of its popular Re-Run silhouette, uses Ananas Anam’s Piñatex – a material choice recently taken by the NY-upstart label Calvin Klein – made from the leaves of the pineapple plant.
It’s an interesting choice for the Amsterdam-based outfit: the shoe is PETA-certified vegan and, outside of the pineapple element, also uses GRS recycled rubber, recycled plastic bottles and organic cotton across the sneaker’s construction. And, while it’s worth noting that Mercer don’t shy away from leather in general, their material choices are more progressive than many of their peers – opting, more-or-less exclusively, for recycled leather and mesh, cutting out virgin materials across organic and synthetic elements.
“Mercer is one of the cool European high-end sneaker brands that is very popular amongst young professionals and fashion lovers. They have been one of the early adopters of Piñatex wanting to provide more sustainable alternatives to their clients. They understand materials really well and they have constructed the shoe using Piñatex exceptionally well.” – Riikka Juva, Head of Communications and Business Development at Ananas Anam
Aesthetically, the shoe is “vintage sports teams in basketball and American football” – which comes across nicely in the silhouette’s overall shape and in the overlays, which add a sense of stability and, at the same time, an extra luxury feel. The colors of the Re-Run Pineapple, too, have that prestige college sports feel to them: “Crème,” “Green,” “Green/Cognac,” “Turquoise,” and “Dark Brown” options offer more than enough variety for fans of low-key kicks. “Silver” and “Gold” variations, however, are available for those with a more ostentatious sense of style.
Between the overall construction, embroidered heel detailing and other accents across the shoe, Mercer have managed to put together a fashion sneaker that ticks all the boxes in terms of build and aesthetics for a general audience – but, in working with Ananas Anam’s Piñatex material – the Dutch brand has also proved there’s no reason why a shoe like that can’t also be planet-friendlier and cruelty-free.
The Re-Run Pineapple is available now, directly from Mercer’s online store, priced at € 169 EUR (roughly $180 USD).