Review: Scooter One Sustainable Sneakers
This post is sponsored by Projext & Co. All opinions are my own, and I always strive to give my honest views.
Scooter One are sustainable sneakers that combine recycled materials with high-tech design. They’re the first crowdfunding project by Projext & Co, an eco-friendly clothing startup. I’ve had the chance to test the Scooter One shoes out for a month now, and I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the sneakers themselves, plus their sustainability and ethics.
Over the past couple years, I’ve been trying to be more mindful of my purchases—I try to buy as little as possible and purchase used whenever possible, but I also like to support companies that are sustainability-minded. I think it’s important to provide options for people who are looking for something specific, and who may not be able to find what they need secondhand. I also want to draw attention to the innovation in the fashion industry, which shows that fashion can be better for the planet and its people.
About the Scooter One Shoes
Before I get into the shoes, it’s important to break down Scooter One’s sustainability and ethics—I know that for many of you, it doesn’t matter what the shoes are like if the brand doesn’t live up to your values.
Scooter One shoes are made of several innovative and eco-friendly materials.
That said, the Scooter One shoes aren’t vegan because they’re made of discarded leather scraps and wool (responsibly sourced—more about this later). I personally try to avoid virgin leather, but I don’t mind wearing recycled or secondhand leather.
I’m all about minimizing waste and upcycling, so I was happy to learn about Scooter One’s Prime Leather Fiber; this material is made from a combination of leather scraps from the floor of a tannery, and vegan leather made from 50% recycled polyester. This Prime Leather Fiber is certified by the Global Recycled Standard, which is an “international, voluntary, full product standard that sets requirements for third-party certification of recycled content, chain of custody, social and environmental practices, and chemical restrictions.”
In layman’s terms, this means that the Prime Leather Fiber has been confirmed by a third party to:
- Actually be post-consumer recycled/made of leather waste
- Have been produced in a socially- and environmentally-responsible way
The leather scraps are broken down into fibers and combined with a 50% recycled polyester base (the vegan leather) to form the Prime Leather Fiber. For transparency, the remaining 50% of the polyester base is virgin polyester; it would be great to see the percentage of recycled polyester eventually be 100%.
The interior of the shoes are lined with Scooter One’s patented Soufflé Fit Technology™, which is made up of Merino wool and Tencel. The wool is certified by the Responsible Wool Standard and is mulesing free (mulesing is an invasive surgical procedure performed on sheep to avoid parasitic infection—it’s painful and there are better alternatives). Tencel is an up-and-coming sustainable material made out of wood pulp, and it’s what forms the insoles of the Scooter One shoes.
The rest of the shoes are equally sustainable:
- Soles of the shoes are 90% natural rubber and 10% recycled rubber
- Shoelaces are 100% organic cotton, certified by the Organic Content Standard (OCS)
- Pigments and leather coating are free of harmful chemicals
Many sustainable shoe companies are unable to provide much information on labor practices (even major companies like Allbirds and Rothy’s).
Luckily, the factory of the Scooter One Shoes was audited by a third party for fair and safe labor practices. Unfortunately, the factory can’t share the certification because it’s sponsored by another brand (a well-respected European running shoe brand); while this may sound strange, it’s quite common for brands not to be able to disclose certain information for privacy and competition reasons.
That said, every Projext & Co supplier has to acknowledge and commit to their supplier code of conduct, which is aligned with the standards of the International Labor Organization (ILO) and Ethical Trade Initiative.
The supplier code of conduct includes these terms, among others:
- No forced or child labor
- Safe and hygienic working conditions
- Payment of at least minimum wage and mandated benefits (the wage must be “sufficient to meet employees’ basic needs and provide some discretionary income”)
- Right to freedom of association and collective bargaining
- No discrimination or harrassment
- No excessive working hours (max 48 hours, 60 including consensual overtime, and at least 1 day off every 7 days)
The sponsor of the factory also states that they know their suppliers personally, and have built strong partnerships over the years. After conducting an initial assessment, the sponsor visits the factory several times a year to directly discuss any challenges and opportunities.
My Experience with the Scooter One Shoes
Now, let’s dive into the shoes themselves!
Style & Fit
The Scooter One sneakers have a minimalistic, classic, and sporty feel. They come in three colors: white, black, and gray. I love that they can be worn with more casual looks, but also go with fancier outfits (I wore them with a “vintage” getup, pictured below).
The sizing was also true to fit for me—I typically wear a Women’s US 6.5/7, and I ordered the size 7. They felt a little roomy at first, but were just fine after I tightened the laces more (size 7 tends to be slightly large on me in general, as I’m in-between sizes). I also like to have a slightly larger size to slip the shoes on and off more easily.
One cool aspect of the sneakers are their advanced Popcorn Technology™ in the soles. This technology is meant to improve shock absorption, durability, and traction. One of the first things I noticed about the shoes was how cushioned and springy they are (hence the name “popcorn”). Only my running shoes have ever provided this type of cushioning.
After walking around for a whole day in the Scooter One shoes, my feet also felt more comfortable than they typically would. I’m not going to lie and say that they weren’t sore at all; it’s natural that your feet get sore if you walk a lot. But that said, my feet were less irritated than they would’ve been in other sneakers (I once wore a pair of dumpster-dived classic Adidas sneakers for a day of travel, and my feet weren’t very happy. I also have a pair of old fast fashion sneakers that gave me a bloody toenail after only 2 miles of walking).
I actually even wore the sneakers on a short and easy hike, and they did just fine.
I’ve also had a good experience with the lining of the shoes—they’re said to be antibacterial and moisture-wicking. After wearing mine on a warm day, they weren’t smelly, and my feet didn’t feel sweaty (note that I always wear socks, but the Projext & Co team says they’re not necessary for these shoes due to the antibacterial lining).
The shoes come in minimal packaging, but I do think they could come in even less. The cardboard box was mailed in a typical plastic mailer, and the shoes were also wrapped in a plastic drawstring bag inside the box. I don’t think the second plastic bag is necessary, and luckily, the final packaging is actually being redesigned and will not include that second plastic bag.
Speaking of rain, the shoes are water-resistant. I’ve worn the shoes for a 2-mile walk in the rain, and my feet stayed dry. I only had a bit of rain hit my ankles, where the shoe opens up. When I was washing the shoes, the water also slipped right off the sides, and the insides stayed dry.
Scooter One shoes are more expensive than typical sneakers, but you’re paying for the sustainable technology and ethical production. They’re currently discounted at $69 USD on Indiegogo for Thanksgiving week only, equivalent to the price that the earliest backers got. The final retail price of the shoes will be $130 USD, which is pretty on-par with sustainable sneaker competitors.
Note that you will need to pay for shipping, which costs $15-35 per pair of shoes, depending on your location.
After a month of wear the Scooter One shoes are holding up well. There’s a little wear in the heel, but it’s minimal. The Prime Leather Fiber has a few small wrinkles from normal wear, but it’s otherwise in good shape. I’ll update this section every 3 months to give you a better sense of longevity.
Edit: After a few months, the leather has cracked a bit, but it isn’t too noticeable. The soles are still in great condition and haven’t worn down much.
Edit: After 1.5 years, I’m still wearing the shoes, but they’re significantly worn down, particularly towards the inner heel area since I often slip my shoes on. I think they’ll last around 2 years total with very regular wear before I have to replace them.
The shoes after one month of wear; photos not edited at all for transparency. Recently washed to demonstrate the water resistance and ease of cleaning.
Where to Buy the Scooter One Sneakers
You can find the Scooter One shoes on Indiegogo. As I said, the earlier backers will get the best deals. There will also be a discount on Black Friday for those looking to save more money.
As always, please consume responsibly and only buy what you need. I’ve always liked to have a pair of plain white sneakers, and my previous ones had just worn out a couple months prior. I’m looking forward to wearing these Scooter One sneakers for as long as possible!
Can you recommend sustainable running shoes?
Yes! I haven’t tried a lot yet and usually buy mainstream models lightly used on eBay. But I know a couple current options are the Allbirds Tree Dashers: https://imperfectidealist.com/allbirds-tree-dashers-review/, and Hylo Athletics as is also another one.