Like most consumer products, sneakers have a natural lifecycle: People buy them, wear them for a few months (or years), discard them, then purchase another pair. But imagine a shoe that is made to be remade. That’s precisely what Adidas ( ADDYY ) hoped to accomplish with FutureCraft Loop — a 100% recyclable performance shoe made of recycled materials.
The shoe consists of just one type of material — 100% reusable thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). In addition, no glue holds the shoe together. Instead, the TPU is spun into a yarn which is then clean-fused to the shoe’s midsole. The shoe is intended for people to wear and then send back to Adidas, so the shoe can be ground up and then made into new shoe. Graham Williamson, senior director of FutureCraft, likes to think of it as “a guilt-free purchase.”
The recycled runner was unveiled on April 17 at an event held at the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s Duggal Greenhouse in New York City. “This is not a concept car. This is what we’re doing … this is a statement of intent,” said Adidas exec Eric Liedtke.
“In 2019 the company will produce 11 million pairs of shoes that contain recycled ocean plastic through intercepting plastic waste on beaches, remote islands and in coastal communities,” Liedtke said.
FutureCraft is a beta program, currently rolling out with 200 pairs which have circulated to people in major cities around the world. These testers have been encouraged to put the sneaker through its paces. After a few months, they will provide Adidas with feedback which will be used to help create the broader release of the second generation of the sneaker, targeted for a launch in the spring-summer of 2021.
Adidas has already sold more than 1 million eco-friendly shoes made from ocean plastic, when it teamed up with with Parley for the Ocean in 2015 to create a line of sneakers with uppers consisting of yarns and filaments reclaimed and recycled from marine plastic waste and illegal deep-sea gill-nets.
And in 2018, Adidas announced a ban on single-use plastic at its offices and in its stores.
Reggie Wade is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @ReggieWade
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