Have you ever heard of R3 CONCEPT? The Montreal shoe brand offers eco-responsible sneakers made from recycled materials. Launched in 2021 by Étienne Pré, the project is inspired by the phenomenon of the three Rs, reduce, reuse, recycle, to create minimalist designs that combine comfort and durability. Among R3 CONCEPT’s most successful models is the pair of trendy Ultra Zero Waste shoes made to meet environmental needs. Composed of 1.4 kg of reused waste, the manufacturing methods implemented in the brand’s factories save 4,330 litres of water and 1.45 kg of CO2 for each shoe design. We chatted with Étienne to learn more! —Noa Nichol
Hello Étienne! Please tell us a bit about yourself to start.
To talk about myself, I’d like to start with what I like. I like things that are concrete and simple. In college, I remember our visual art teacher was always saying “the simpler the better,” and I’ve kept that sentence in mind to this day. I’m passionate about product development and design. For me, nature, art, and fashion rhyme together. These three pillars are the reflection of R3 CONCEPT.
When and why did you launch R3 CONCEPT? What niche where/are you aiming to fill?
R3 CONCEPT was launched in the summer of 2021, but the company was registered in 2019 and was known to my family and friends, so it was time for me to learn more about the industry before the official launch in 2021. I was influenced from a young age by my mother who had a sewing workshop. I also wanted to change my consumption habits to help the environment, so I was looking for an eco-responsible sneaker. Unfortunately, I didn’t like the ones I found on the market, or they were way too expensive, I had the impression that the brands were not adapting to the consumer’s evolution. So, I created R3 CONCEPT, a brand that inspires change through innovative materials, without compromising design. R3 CONCEPT is for anyone who believes that art and sustainability can coexist. It’s something that you don’t often see a lot of in Canada, especially in Montréal. It’s also about making high-end affordable, because we produce in the same factories as the big companies. I don’t understand why a pair of sneakers can cost $500 and if you’re unlucky it’s not even sustainable.
What products do you currently offer, and what makes them unique?
For now, we offer casual sneakers. What makes these shoes unique is the transparency in all aspects of the design right down to the final selling price. We use premium sustainable materials like bio-based sugar cane to make the lining which offers undeniable comfort and makes the shoes odor resistant.
Let’s dive deeper into the sustainability of these sneakers: in what ways do you keep the environment in mind from start to finish? How does the sustainability factor differ in each of the shoe designs? Are some “greener” than others?
We strive to create products that are as sustainable as possible, not only in terms of materials but also by creating products that can be worn for as long as possible. We ensure that 90 per cent of our products are made from recycled or organic materials. We consider sustainability at every stage of our business, from design to consumer, we encourage consumers to never throw away our products or to donate them if they want more. To ensure that we are working to improve our planet and preserve nature, as the saying goes “without nature, there is no art”. Yes, because minimizing our impact is a journey. With our reliable partners in Europe, we are rethinking the selection of leathers for the sneakers, the goal being to positively improve our impact, for example we might look for soles made from post-industrial rubber remnants for our next model which is a better alternative in terms of quality and durability.
Regarding the designs, what aesthetic and details can we find in these sneakers?
I’ve always had a passion for minimalist style, minimalism is part of R3 CONCEPT’s DNA. Creating casual shoes first was important to me, especially since today the demand for casual style is on the rise. I really like the details on the Ultra zero waste seams on the sole, the small logo on the vamp and the green lining, are just some of the signatures you will find.
Which pair of R3 CONCEPT sneakers will you be rocking this fall?
We have a vintage model coming out soon. I think I’ll be wearing them all fall from Monday to Sunday, morning through night.
Win! A Pair of R3 CONCEPT Sneakers!
Congrats David S. of Calgary, AB, who will receive a pair of R3 CONCEPT sneakers! To enter, follow @r3concept and @vitadaily.ca on Instagram and follow the entry rules on our corresponding post. Contest opens September 13, 2022, and closes September 20, 2022. Rules and regulations here. Please note: if you are the winner, you will receive a DM (direct message) in Instagram directly from @vitadaily.ca. Please be wary of fake accounts, which often use similar handles with an extra or missing letter, number or symbol. We will never ask for a payment or for your credit card number, and we will never ask you to click through a link. If you are unsure whether you have been contacted, via Instagram, by us or a fake account, email us before responding.
September 13th, 2022 at 9:22 am
I look for bottles/containers and buy product refills to REDUCE waste, REUSE all things that still can be use until it becomes worn out or reach its longest span, and RECYCLE the products & turn it into something new! I also teach this with my family because I believe change starts with yourself and the rest will follow. ❤️
September 13th, 2022 at 11:08 am
Minimizing my usage and waste of items; upcycling items and passing along for others to use.
September 13th, 2022 at 12:21 pm
We walk to local stores and appointments rather than use our car @julielaura1
September 13th, 2022 at 1:07 pm
Reduce plastic bags; reuse the ones I have and recycle the others! @farting_frog
September 13th, 2022 at 1:55 pm
Pretty much walk everywhere! @maryandcedar
September 13th, 2022 at 4:03 pm
walking, walking, walking. thanks
September 13th, 2022 at 4:34 pm
I take my own veggie bags when grocery shopping. I rinse out plastic milk bags and reuse them as freezer bags. And we recycle clean plastic, glass and paper regularly. @michaeljoseph605
September 13th, 2022 at 4:39 pm
We reuse ♻️ as much as possible.
We recycle everything that is recyclable. ♻️
We reduce plastic as much as we can. ♻️
September 13th, 2022 at 5:10 pm
In my daily life I go thrift shopping instead of buying new. 🙃
September 13th, 2022 at 6:17 pm
We walk, we recycle every thing @wghutton
September 14th, 2022 at 6:06 am
I reuse plastic bags. @tabby_1972
September 14th, 2022 at 8:45 am
I implement the R3 in my life by following all of the city rules and buying products that are packaged with more reusable items, rather than fill up the garbage can.
September 14th, 2022 at 8:53 pm
Buy used, repurpose as much as possible and never use 1 time plastic. @tigerd18
September 15th, 2022 at 6:19 pm
We consider the 3 rs in all our decisions and purchases
September 15th, 2022 at 9:58 pm
We do whatever we can by only buying what we need (groceries, clothing, furniture, etc), we support local business who are environmentally conscious, use our own bags for shopping, & participate in groups that trade goods to reuse 🙂
September 17th, 2022 at 6:49 am
I would implement the 3 Rs walking, shopping, & going to hockey games.
September 17th, 2022 at 12:31 pm
These are so cute! I love the tagline on @r3concept “Sustainability shouldn’t be boring … ” Looking forward to reading more about this great Canadian company. For years my wardrobe has been 98% from thrift stores but it’s important for consumers to support the companies that work towards sustainability. This is a company I would love to buy new from. Thanks for the spotlight and great giveaway!
September 17th, 2022 at 7:00 pm
Everyday we look for items we can repurpose, reuse, and recycle. I now hit up thrift stores and also donate to keep the cycle going and prevent items going into landfills. We also try to buy only what we need, especially with food so nothing goes to waste. (@Amybobamy1)
September 18th, 2022 at 5:11 am
i use reuseable containers and grocery bags at every possible opportunity, and i also walk/bus everywhere i can rather than drive.
@seafoodmwg on ig
September 19th, 2022 at 7:28 pm
reduce – we are down to one garbage bag a week by reducing what we buy that can’t be reduced, recycle or reuse. reuse – we use steel straws that we reuse over and over again. They are great. I have them in my Van, Purse and Kitchen so we never run out. recycle – we have 3 great-sized reusable containers in our kitchen, one for glass and cans, one for recyclable plastics and the 3rd for cardboard. When full we empty them into the big blue bins in our garage for pick up every 2nd Wednesday out at our driveway. This and much more.
September 19th, 2022 at 8:21 pm
I practice the 3Rs daily because I want the planet to be clean and a better place for future generations to grow up in.
September 19th, 2022 at 8:21 pm
September 20th, 2022 at 9:08 am
trying to limit my purchases to things that I need (reduce). I also make a point of reusing items, for example, I repurpose empty containers for storage in the pantry and kitchen (reuse). And when that’s not possible, I do my best to collect and recycle any applicable household waste materials (recycle).
September 20th, 2022 at 9:04 pm
I reduce my unnecessary shopping,I recycle, I reuse empty pasta sauce bottles @SweetTD93