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Everlane: Sneaking into the sneaker industry with style and sustainability

Everlane’s Tread is like ice cream on a humid afternoon.

After almost a decade in the industry, Everlane finally joined the sneaker fray and people are starting to notice.

I can’t tell you exactly when, but the sneaker industry blew up real big; you have might noticed if you follow the news. Every day, there’s another couple of new pairs, another reissue, another innovation, another hyped collab. It’s great, I suppose, for the current generation of consumers.

But for others, well, we’ve seen the same things go around for about twenty years. Me, I’ve just been wanting something different, or maybe a timeless classic pair that would see the next five years through.

One time, while going through the rubble of release news, I found a headline about Everlane supposedly disrupting the sneaker industry.  

Photo credit: Everlane

“Disrupting” was just the word I needed to hear. It made me curious, and I wanted to know what they were all about.

Everlane is a San Francisco-based clothing company that was founded by Michael Preysman and Jesse Farmer in 2010, focused on everyday high-quality clothing essentials with a minimalist aesthetic. As it was relatively new to the scene compared to most other fast-fashion brands, they claimed that they were not just about selling clothes: they were also bannering a mission statement that keyed in sustainability, ethical labor practices, and transparency.

Yes, they had shoes, and a few months ago they decided to enter the sneaker scene.

I thought, if they joined today’s sneaker-fueled fashion culture where the market is mostly dominated by household names with the likes of Adidas and Nike, and luxury brands like Acne Studios, Greats, and Common Projects, what did they have to offer buyers?

Photo credit: Everlane

Under a new brand name, Tread by Everlane, they released their first sneaker, the Trainer. Simple, versatile, and if there’s anything that made me want to get my hands on it, it was the fact that the design looked original.

They consistently stood behind the same message for their products, giving the sneaker a rich story of sustainability and good environmental practices. Recycled plastic and natural rubber for the soles and laces, full-grain leather sourced from a gold-certified tannery: nice things to hear about a product’s story.

Photo credit: Everlane

The end product actually looked good on paper, and there were excellent reviews. It seemed like a good gamble.

Sadly, the only way I could get one was through Everlane’s online shop, and when it comes to online shoe purchases, two things have always been hard to come by: accurate size guides and worldwide door-to-door shipping.

Thankfully, Everlane had both. So, with seven neutral tones to choose from, I played it safe with an off-white tone.

Photo credit: Ryan Sabandal

It certainly does not disappoint. The minimalist sneaker sports the vibe of ’80s runners with signature suede or leather overlays depending on color, and a full-grain leather base seated on top of a textured midsole with a touch of chunk from ’90s hoop sneakers.

The aesthetic is clean, accentuated by subtle nods to features that turned sneakers into wardrobe staples from previous decades, and yet it retains its own identity.  It is a good example of simplicity calling for more attention to detail. And despite the story with the wide use of eco-friendly materials, the premium “look and feel” is not compromised.

Photo credit: Everlane

The slightly mid-cut silhouette makes it a subtle change from your usual low-top trainers, and keeps it from looking too sporty or athletic. Comfort-wise, it’s no fancy runner with innovative fit or modern cushioning, but it gets the job done, from leisurely walks to a rigorous commute in Manila.

All things considered, it seems to have the makings of a classic that can hold its own with today’s trends. It can complement a wide array of casual outfits just as well as a pair of classic tennis sneakers would, yet it stands out because there just isn’t enough original stuff these days.

Not bad for a pair of handsomely made grown-up trainers priced a little under a hundred dollars, given how the cost of premium sneakers can soar ridiculously high. This price point is very much welcome to my pocket. And yes, it comes with unisex sizing.

Photo credit: Everlane

In a time when consumers want to go for the fashionable, for what Lebron or Kanye wore, or for some retooled classic pair seen on a Paris runway, the functionality of Tread by Everlane is simple and refreshing, like ice cream on a humid afternoon, except mostly everyone else is just sweating.

For now, I’m sold, and I can’t wait for what they’re cooking up next. I like it so much I’d even tell you to get a pair for yourself.