Four years ago, we unveiled a prototype for the future: the very first adidas X Parley shoe. Created from upcycled marine plastic waste and illegal deep-sea gillnets, the shoe demonstrated the power of collaboration and eco-innovation. It was a symbol of change.
Since then, our partnership with adidas has grown to include upcycled marine plastic debris in athletic wear, football jerseys, tennis equipment and swimwear – turning threat into thread. This year, we plan to create 11 million pairs of shoes together, using Parley Ocean Plastic®. This raises awareness, creates a market for plastic that would otherwise end up in our oceans, and reduces the use of virgin plastic and associated CO2 emissions. But this is just the beginning of our eco-innovation journey.
To truly end the many threats facing our oceans, we need to reinvent the materials and systems that underpin our world, with a focus on the third pillar of our AIR Strategy: Redesign. On April 17, adidas unveiled another big step in that direction: the world’s first single-material, 100% recyclable performance running shoe.
Created with a cradle-to-cradle philosophy, Futurecraft LOOP is the first running shoe concept that is made to be remade. The company’s new breakthrough closed “LOOP CREATION PROCESS” is designed to produce fully recyclable performance footwear that can be returned to adidas, broken down and reused to create new performance running shoes.
“Taking plastic waste out of the system is the first step, but we can’t stop there,” says Eric Liedtke, Executive Board Member at adidas, responsible for Global Brands. “What happens to your shoes after you’ve worn them out? You throw them away – except there is no away. There are only landfills and incinerators and ultimately an atmosphere choked with excess carbon, or oceans filled with plastic waste. The next step is to end the concept of “waste” entirely. Our dream is that you can keep wearing the same shoes over and over again.”
So how does it work? Sports footwear typically includes complex material mixes and component gluing – resulting in shoes which can only be downcycled. After close to a decade of research and development alongside leading material development, Futurecraft LOOP represents a transformative approach: using one material type and no glue.
Each component is made from 100% reusable Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). It’s spun to yarn, knitted, molded and clean-fused to a BOOST midsole. Once the shoes come to the end of their first life and are returned to adidas, they will be washed, ground to pellets and melted into material for components for a new pair of shoes, with zero waste and nothing thrown away.
With Futurecraft LOOP, the end of one running shoe is the beginning of the next. This isn’t the end of the journey, but it is a powerful symbol of the future we can and will create together. Avoid. Intercept. Redesign.