Adidas to double production of ocean plastic trainers in 2019

Sportswear giant Adidas has confirmed that it will produce more than twice as many pairs of trainers made using ocean plastic this year than it did in 2018, as consumer demand for products and packaging free from virgin plastic grows.

Back in 2016, only 50 pairs of prototype UltraBOOST trainers were available

Back in 2016, only 50 pairs of prototype UltraBOOST trainers were available

 Last year, the firm produced more than five million pairs of its Parley trainers, which contain 95% post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastics sourced from ocean and beach clean-ups.

This week, it has confirmed plans to manufacture around 11 million pairs of the shoes before the end of the year – an increase of more than 100%. The move comes after the company surpassed its 2016 target of selling one million pairs of the shoes one year early.

The UltraBOOST trainers, produced in partnership with marine conservation organisation Parley For The Oceans, contain around five recycled 500ml bottles’ worth of plastic per shoe. The upper part of the trainers is made from 100% PCR plastic yarn, while the 3D-printed soles and midsoles are made from recycled polyester and fill net content.

The plastic used to manufacture the shoes is sourced from Parley for the Oceans’ localised clean-up operations, which are based in the Maldives and along 1,000 coral islands off the western coast of India. Parley also supplies this plastic to brewer Corona, luxury fashion brand Stella McCartney and outdoor clothing retailer Patagonia.   

“With Adidas products made from recycled plastic, we offer our consumers real added value beyond the look, functionality and quality of the product, because every shoe is a small contribution to the preservation of our oceans,” Adidas’ global brands executive Eric Liedtke said.

“Therefore, after one million pairs of shoes produced in 2017 and five million in 2018, we plan to produce 11 million pairs of shoes containing recycled ocean plastic in 2019.”

Closing the plastic loop

The launch of the ocean plastic trainers in 2017 formed 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.

Adidas has played its part in this commitment by using some of the ocean waste sourced by Parley in various football kit ranges, including special edition Real Madrid and Bayern Munich kits.

It has additionally designed limited-edition Parley kits for Manchester United, which the ‘Red Devils’ wore on their summer tour of the US last year in a bid to raise awareness of the global plastic pollution crisis.

After launching these football kits, Adidas went one step further in autumn 2018 by pledging to remove all virgin plastic components from its products and packaging by 2024. It is currently designing alternatives made using PCR, pre-consumer recycled and compostable materials.

As Adidas increases the number of recycled shoes it produces, recycled products will make up a greater proportion of its overall product output, a spokesman for the brand told edie. 

The company has also committed to becoming carbon-neutral by 2050, with an interim target of a 30% reduction in its overall carbon footprint by 2030. These pledges form part of Adidas’s membership to the UN Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action, which was unveiled at the COP24 conference in Katowice, Poland. The charter has been signed by 43 big-name fashion brands from across the world, including H&M Group, Inditex and Gap.

Sarah George



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