Adidas unlocks circular future with recycled footwear

April 22, 2019 - United States Of America

Adidas has strengthened its commitment to tackling plastic waste with the launch of Futurecraft.Loop - a 100 per cent recyclable performance running shoe. The shoes can be returned to Adidas, broken down and reused. The first-gen shoes will be rolled out as part of a global beta programme with 200 leading creators from across the world’s major cities.

Adidas will challenge them to run, return the shoes and share feedback on their experience, ahead of the second-gen drop. The insights will be used to shape the roadmap for the wider release targeted for Spring Summer 2021.

In 2019, Adidas will produce 11 million pairs of shoes containing recycled ocean plastic through intercepting plastic waste on beaches, remote islands and in coastal communities. Adidas is committed to using only recycled polyester in every product and on every application where a solution exists by 2024. Creating products with premium materials by Parley, made from up-cycled marine plastic waste, is the first pillar of Adidas’ sustainability strategy. Together with Parley for the Oceans, in 2015, Adidas introduced the first performance footwear concept with an upper made entirely of yarns and filaments reclaimed and recycled from marine plastic waste and illegal deep-sea gillnets.

"Futurecraft.Loop is our first running shoe that is made to be remade. It is a statement of our intent to take responsibility for the entire life of our product; proof that we can build high-performance running shoes that you don’t have to throw away," Eric Liedtke, executive board member at Adidas, responsible for global brands.

Futurecraft.Loop is a transformative approach to designing performance shoes that are made to be remade from the outset, by using one material type and no glue. Each component is made from 100 per cent reusable TPU - it’s spun to yarn, knitted, moulded and clean-fused to a Boost midsole using Adidas Speedfactory technology. 

Once the shoes come to the end of their first life and are returned to Adidas – they are washed, ground to pellets and melted into material for components for a new pair of shoes, with zero waste and nothing thrown away. Each generation is designed to meet the Adidas sports performance standard, without compromise.

“We set out to create a new type of product that we can take back, grind up and reapply into new Adidas product. We knew this was a far-reaching vision in every way; technically and even behaviourally! There were times when it didn’t seem like we could get over some of the technical hurdles - now we’ve made the first leap, the playing field has changed. We cannot create a circular future on our own, we are going to need each other. We’re excited to see this first step come to life as part of the beta launch,” Tanyaradzwa Sahanga, manager, technology innovation, at Adidas, said.

“Futurecraft is our design and innovation ethos,” said Paul Gaudio, SVP creative direction and future, at Adidas. It is about the intersection of art, science, technology, humanity, engineering and craft. It’s applying creativity to reimagine the world we wish to see.”

“Futurecraft seeks to break new ground, bringing new materials and processes to bear against the many challenges and opportunities we face in helping athletes make a difference in their game, in their life and of course, in the world they live in - the world we all live in," Sahanga added. (RR)