Everlane is going after Adidas and Allbirds with a new brand to tap into the $20 billion sneaker market
- Everlane has announced a new sneaker brand called Tread by Everlane.
- Its first sneaker is called the Trainer and will retail for $98 when it is released on April 25.
- The sneaker takes cues from the past in its design, but it uses sustainable materials.
- The new brand fits alongside efforts by companies like Adidas and Allbirds to create sustainable sneakers, and its styling is very much in line with what customers want right now.
Everlane is jumping into the sneaker game.
On Thursday, the primarily online clothing retailer announced a new sneaker brand called Tread by Everlane.
"The sneaker came to us, really, as the completion of the American uniform," CEO Michael Preysman told Business Insider, noting that it was the next logical step after jeans and T-shirts.
The first sneaker is called the Trainer, and it looks much like the retro styles that are dominating the sneaker market today, which, according to NPD Group, is worth as much as $20 billion.
The inspiration for the shoe "largely came from the world of athletics," Preysman said.
The sneaker, for better or worse, is now an essential part of everyday footwear. And, it's not going away.
"I don't think it's a moment or a trend - it's a shift," Preysman said. "The world has become much more casual and comfort-driven. People realize that we don't need to wear uncomfortable clothes to look good."
Though Everlane has released shoes for women before, Tread's sneakers are unisex.
Tread is also Everlane's first new brand.
"There was so much thought put into the launch of a sneaker. And sneakers in and of themselves really are their own style piece. We wanted to ... give credence to that style and allow people to wear things that weren't necessarily Everlane," Preysman said.
The new brand also opens up the opportunity to capture a new consumer in additional to regular Everlane shoppers.
"I believe that there's probably a new customer base that hasn't bought into Everlane that's interested in sneakers - and sustainability - that will ultimately come to life, too," Preysman said. "Especially the male consumer."
The sneakers are made with durable materials that were sourced to create the "lowest-impact sneaker of its kind," according to Everlane.
That focus was really "a reaction to what we see now happening, which is a massive trend that's causing people to switch their sneakers out on such a regular basis," Preysman said.
The sneakers use a sole with only 6% virgin plastic and incorporate leather from a tannery with a gold certification from the Leather Working Group, which rates environmental friendliness.
This sustainability initiative echoes efforts from throughout the industry, from big brands like Adidas, which uses ocean plastic to make shoes and created what is likely the world's first recyclable shoe, to smaller, niche ones like Allbirds, which often uses alternative materials like wool or tree pulp.
Don't expect the range of sneakers to reach shoe-giant-level proportions, however, as Everlane usually sticks with a design once it finds one it likes.
"We're not in the business of launching new styles on a monthly basis. We're really about creating one style, maybe every year, that we think really resonates and makes an impact. And then not really evolving too much," Preysman said.
"It's about the classics for us," he said.