BY michael doughty
The sportswear industry is broken.I know it, I’ve been wearing it my whole life. First, as a kid who loved sport, then as a professional footballer playing in the Premier League. And now finally as an avid runner.
Sustainability was a taboo subject in football. We didn’t really talk about the impact of sport or sportswear on the environment and there was minimal education around it. We were told to keep controversy to a minimum.As an athlete, I started to question things, started to question myself and the impact I was directly and indirectly contributing too. I felt uncomfortable that outside of my life as a footballer I was becoming more and more interested in sustainability and the environment and I was championing those values to my friends, family and anyone who met me. However, when it came to football, I wasn’t able to express myself fully and display my love of nature with the products that I wore.
So why is the sportswear industry broken and what does that really mean?
If the footwear industry was a country it would be the 17th largest polluter.Almost all products are made using fossil fuel derived materials and it’s no secret now that fossil fuel use is one of the main contributors to the climate crisis and the biodiversity mass extinction happening all around us. But solutions exist to these complex problems and they are starting to build momentum. It just sometimes takes a team of people willing to push hard enough to embrace all of the innovation around us.
In the context of sportswear, the solution is using renewable materials, like sugarcane, corn and algae and that’s what we’re striving for at hylo. Our mission is clear: to replace all fossil fuel material use with renewables. We’re not there yet, but we’ve made some awesome progress so far and we’re excited about the road ahead.
Launching HyloopWe’ve also done a ton of other work to drive impact at all levels of the company. We’ve developed an industry first recycling programme, taking back old hylo shoes to be ground up and used in future hylo products as well as recycling other brands running shoes. We are committed to ensuring that our products are lab certified vegan as well as focusing massively on reducing their carbon footprint. And we have begun embedding technology into our products to help pioneer circularity, helping our community to keep their products going for as long as possible.
Hylo started with running shoes, and we’ve still got a massive journey ahead of us but we’re not going to stop until we’ve built out a full suite of game changing products. I really believe that the more products we can make, the better the impact of sportswear will be on our planet. The major key to this is our community of champions . The company you wear on your chest as an athlete is in many ways a direct representation of you and your values and we see a future where athletes don’t have to compromise between performance and impact. A future where our products are worn proudly by our champions competing for medals, titles and everything in between.
Sport has an incredible power to unite the world and influence positive change. We’re here to make products in a better way for sports people and teams globally, and support people and platforms to champion a message that the future is still ours to write.
Welcome to the world of hylo. Run like the world depends on it!