From using recycled rubber or organic cotton to having them stitched and not glued, there has been a spurt of footwear that claims to be environmentally friendly. Ditching leather and moving towards sustainable options is the new norm.

But for a refreshingly minimalist look with minimal impact on the planet, say hello to hylo. The London-based athletic shoe start-up’s aim is to revolutionise the way we see our high-performance trainers. Made using renewable materials, hylo offers recyclable footwear with a 52% lower carbon footprint compared with the average running shoe.

hylo’s co-founders have a sporting background, so this adventurous young brand's designers have direct access to those who really know what's needed out of a pair of training shoes. If that's not enough, the forward-thinking brand has partnered with Fenwick for an exclusive pop-up at our Bond Street store.

What are the 3 most important things that people should know about hylo?
1. We are on a mission to protect the future of running and sport by eliminating fossil fuels from our products.
2. Our shoe, the hylo Light, is made from renewable materials like sugarcane, algae and cornstarch.
3. The hylo Light is lab-certified vegan, and recyclable. We will take back our shoes once they have been worn, and recycle any trainers, in exchange for hylo store credit.

What was the inspiration behind starting the brand?
Our co-founder Michael was a former professional footballer, and during his career, he witnessed first-hand the impact that the sportswear industry was having on the environment. Almost all products are made using fossil fuel-derived materials, and there are no end-of-life solutions once you’re finished with them. It’s no secret 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 the innovation around us.

You place a lot of importance on fair trade and ecologically sound practices—why is this important to you?
The world doesn’t need more products; it needs better ones.
Sustainability is about improving every aspect of the product creation, production, delivery and afterlife process. We want to create products that are objectively better than what is out there.

You describe hylo footwear as “High performance for athletes, low impact on the planet”. Is ergonomics sacrificed in order to be more eco-friendly?
Our shoe is built on an anatomical last and is running-inspired. The hylo Light utilises the best engineering and material innovation to achieve all-day comfort for the everyday athlete. We have carefully balanced ergonomics with impact to create a product that is breathable, ultralight, and seriously comfortable.

What challenges do independent brands like hylo face?
One of the many challenges independent brands face is getting people to know about them and, more importantly, to believe in why they exist. The world of social media is very noisy and filled with lots of brands, lots of which are claiming to be ‘sustainable’. This makes it more difficult to build trust with your community, but we believe transparency is the only way forward; communicating what we are doing well and where we need to improve. If the customer has all the facts, then they can make the best possible purchasing decision.
The problem with running footwear is that once you wear down a shoe, there’s no reusing it. hylo introduced a recycling scheme. Can you talk us through the scheme?
The recycling program is powered by hyloop, our technology platform and it exists to address a mammoth problem. 90% of shoes currently end up in landfill.
We will take back our shoes, as well as any trainer, from any brand to be recycled. We grind up and then reuse the recycled waste into new hylo products. The other brand’s trainers can be upcycled and downcycled into other industries.

hylo is hitting fast forward on the future of sustainable footwear. Do you think more fashion brands are moving in this direction, or is there still a long way to go?
The world is moving fast, and the innovation that is available is becoming more and more exciting. However, the current situation we are in (climate change) poses an existential threat to our existence. We can always do more, hylo included.

Why have you selected Fenwick as your sole retailer of choice?
Fenwick is a forward-thinking retailer who is willing to take risks on new brands where they have a clear mission and purpose. From our first meeting, they were passionate about sharing the hylo message and delivering an in-store experience to help both of our communities experience hylo in a truly unique and authentic way.

Talk us through your selection with Fenwick.
We’ve gone for some of our community favourites, colourways that stand the test of time and that will provide all-day comfort for the everyday athlete.

What can we expect to see next from hylo?
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. We really believe that the more products we can make, the better the impact of sportswear will be on our planet. We see a future where athletes don’t have to compromise between performance and impact, where our products are worn proudly by our champions {of tomorrow} competing for medals, titles and everything in between.
From the 7th of September, hylo will be holding a weekly Wednesday running club from 6:00PM, gathering outside the hylo pop-up, located at the Fenwick of Bond Street New Bond Street entrance. Led by co-founder Michael Doughty, prepare to run like the world depends on it.
Back to Top