Clothing brand adidas is launching a 100% recyclable running shoe called FUTURECRAFT.LOOP that can be returned, broken down and reused to create new performance running shoes.
Working with Parley for the Oceans, adidas introduced in 2015 the first performance footwear concept with the upper made from yarn and filaments reclaimed and recycled from marine plastic waste and illegal deep-sea gillnets.
In 2019, the brand said it will produce 11 million pairs of shoes with Ocean Plastic by Parley, through intercepting plastic waste on beaches, islands and in coastal communities.
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adidas has said that it is committed to only using recycled polyester in every product and on every application where a solution exists by 2024.
The FUTURECRAFT.LOOP project is aimed at fighting the issue of plastic waste, allowing a ‘closed loop’ or circular manufacturing model, where raw materials can be repurposed, not just into a water bottle, but into another pair of running shoes.
adidas executive board member and responsible for global brands said Eric Liedtke: “Taking plastic waste out of the system is the first step, but we can’t stop there. 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.”
“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.”
Sports footwear usually includes complex material mixes and component gluing, resulting in a shoe that can only be downcycled.
FUTURECRAFT.LOOP is a transformative approach to designing performance shoes that are “made to be remade”, by using one material type and no glue.
Each component is made from 100% reusable thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). It is spun to yarn, knitted, moulded and then clean-fused into a BOOST midsole using adidas SPEEDFACTORY technology.
Once the shoes come to the end of their first life and returned to adidas, they are washed, ground to pellets and melted into material for components for a new pair of shoes, with zero waste.
Adidas technology innovation manager Tanyaradzwa Sahanga said: “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.”
The first-gen FUTURECRAFT.LOOP shoe will be rolled out as part of a global beta program with 200 leading creators from across the world’s major cities.
Adidas will challenge them to run, return the shoes and provide feedback, with the insights being used to shape the roadmap for the wider release targets for Spring/Summer 2021.