In high school, my coach wanted us all to have the same cleats (crazy I know!!). Hence, I have these cleats and wanted to research on whether they are sustainable or not because I, unfortunately, don’t know much about shoes. After further research, I don’t want to necessarily dissuade you from buying this product because the majority of these major companies that create lacrosse cleats have a lack of transparency. I believe this will come with our demands for it, in the real and athletic world.
The company claims to use 100% of its raw materials so that it is not left with any scraps. It is always so important that there is a circulatory process within the company. In regard to the actual shoes, the company does not give the specifics on what the shoe is made of. They merely give us the information that there is lightweight textile upper, synthetic material, foam, rubber, and metallic accents. Hence, it is difficult to really determine the materials within the shoe, however, based on what the typical cleat is made of and what I can see from my own shoes, I find there is a lot of plastic, metal, and synthetic material. Seeing as none of these materials are addressed by the company, I find it hard to believe they are necessarily sustainable. Moreover, just from having bought the shoes in the past, I know that the tissue paper and cardboard box are the pervasive way of selling these shoes. Although these have the potential to be sustainable (i.e. reusing tissue paper for future gifts or cardboard for household activities), I believe most people will merely through them away when the excitement of the new shoes overwhelms them.
The company, in its product design report, states that they are using advanced technology and modern design to minimize waste and maximize longevity of the shoe. It “challenges” its suppliers to use processes that reduce waste and decrease its carbon footprint. This makes no indication that is is a requirement, or really even a suggestion, for its suppliers. Although committing to the Sustainability Apparel Coalition’s Facilities Environmental Module, it becomes clear with further research that this doesn’t mean much. I was not even able to access the full report without being a part of the company myself. It provides vague goals with no means of obtaining them and no way of addressing who has or has not participated in an environmentally friendly manner. the company has also launched a partnership with Clean By Design Mill Overview. However, this design program awards company’s with certification if they follow the guidelines and requirements given by the overview, and yet, Underarmour did not claim to have gotten such a certification, merely a partnership. The only real facts Underarmour provides is its initiative to create yarn extrusion and dyeing processes that began in 2017. Since then, they saved about 5.5 Olympic swimming pools of water for every million yards of material. Although seemingly impressive, based on the size of the company, they still have a ways to go.
The company itself has increased its transparency and sustainability, although I believe it is more likely that this came as a result of societal pressures. Nonetheless, the company promises that their products are backed by the Universal Guarantee of Performance. However, this guarantee is created by Underarmour, so its credibility is unclear. Moreover, the company’s only address of how it will better itself in regard to greenhouse gas emissions is that it is partaking in the alteration from foreign mechanical processes to manufacturing “closer to the consumer”. In this way, they hope to potentially reduce greenhouse gases through decreased transportation, notably including the word ‘potentially’ and only addresses the emissions of their transportation vehicles. Moreover, the company claims to be working towards creating transparency within itself, which requires admittance that they aren’t transparent in the production process in the moment. One step that is worth noting is their new admittance into the Integrated Manufacturing Excellence Initiative, a program that assessing the sustainability of all steps in the manufacturing process. In further regard to the SAC’s Module addressed earlier, I can’t help but wonder why the company didn’t commit to the product or labor module that assessing the material and labor force sustainability. Although this wonder comes with an answer in and of itself, the lack of transparency despite pretending to provide ample information makes me angry to say the least.