Adidas launches mass-produced ocean plastic trainers

Global sportswear company Adidas looks set to push around 7,000 pairs of trainers made from 95% ocean plastic into the market, alongside setting a new goal to produce one million ocean plastic pairs of trainers by 2017.

According to Parley for the Oceans, the organisation that Adidas has been collaborating with to produce the trainers, the first batch of mass-produced Adidas x Parley for the Oceans Boost Uncaged trainers were unveiled today (15 November).

The company unveiled the commercialised version of the trainer alongside Bayern Munich and Real Madrid football kits consisting of upcycled marine waste, which were originally showcased on 4 November. The trainers are already sold out on the Adidas website.

“This represents another step on the journey of Adidas and Parley for the Oceans,” Adidas’s executive board member of global brands Eric Liedtke said at the orginal unveiling. “We have not only managed to make footwear from recycled ocean plastic, but have also created the first jersey coming 100% out of the ocean. But we won’t stop there. We will make one million pairs of shoes using Parley Ocean Plastic in 2017 – and our ultimate ambition is to eliminate virgin plastic from our supply chain.”

Until now, only 50 pairs of the ocean plastic trainers were available, but this will rise to 7,000 in the coming days, before Adidas begins work to roll-out one million pairs next year. Parley claims that this target will use at least 11 million plastic bottles retrieved from coastal areas. The trainers consist of 95% ocean plastic and 5% recycled polyester.

Adidas will use marine waste sourced from Parley’s clean-up operations, which are located in the Maldives and along 1,000 coral islands off the western coast of India. Having originally unveiled the prototype at a United Nations General Assembly in New York in 2015, Adidas has since added a 3D-printed midsole made from recycled polyester and fill net content.

Parley for the Oceans’ founder Cyrill Gutsch said: “Nobody can save the oceans alone. Each of us can play a role in the solution. It’s in the hands of the creative industries to reinvent faulty materials, products, and business models. The consumer can boost the demand for change. But it’s up to eco innovation leaders, like Adidas, to make change a reality. With this shoe we demonstrate what’s possible. It’s even more than a shoe. It’s a flag, an invitation to join our movement.”

Football focus

With the Ellen MacArthur Foundation warning that there could be more plastic in our oceans than fish by 2050, Adidas has increased its efforts to source marine waste as a resource into its football kit range.

World-renowned football clubs Bayern Munich and Real Madrid recently joined the company in a joint movement to highlight plastic pollution. On 5 November, German giants Bayern Munich played TSG 1899 Hoffenheim wearing an Adidas kit made from Parley’s ocean plastic. On 26 November, Spanish club Real Madrid will join the cause, wearing a similar kit during a match against Real Sporting de Gijón.


Avoid, Intercept, Redesign

The one million target for 2017 will form part of a wider collaborative commitment from Parley to “make eco innovation the new industry standard” through the Parley A.I.R. Strategy. The strategy calls on companies to avoid, intercept and redesign in order to end long-term plastic pollution in marine environments.

Speaking exclusively to edie last month, the Plastic Soup Foundation’s head of programmes Jeroen Dagevos claimed that a decision by the UK Government to introduce a national ban on microbeads would act as the first step in introducing a plastic circular economy.

The Foundation has partnered with Parley to launch the Ocean Clean Wash campaign. The campaign aims to align hundreds of companies and non-profits in a collaborative effort to change design models for clothing to prevent the breakdown of fibres.

Matt Mace

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