Adidas announces first 100% recyclable running shoe
As part of its continuing its commitment to sustainability through only using recycled plastics by 2024, Adidas announced a new running shoe that’s made from 100 percent recyclable materials. The Futurecraft.Loop is the sports brand’s first shoe that can be completely remade into another high-performance running shoe.
This news is just the latest in a series of initiatives such as Nike’s Plant Colour collection coming this summer, or Adidas’ 2015 Parley line of shoes and apparel, which is partially made with recycled ocean plastic. Adidas’ current endeavour, the Futurecraft.Loop, was designed using nothing but thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), a plastic material that covers the entire sneaker, including the tongue, laces, upper and the midsole. The company says it has been working on this project for the past six years, with the goal of making a shoe you can repurpose time and time 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,” said Eric Liedtke, Executive Board Member at Adidas, responsible for Global Brands.
How do these Adidas shoes break down?
Consumers often wonder what happens when they need to get rid of their old running shoes. Even though the company’s Parley shoes are made from some recycled materials, there was a concern that they still contribute to the waste issue when they break down. This is where the new 100 percent recyclable running shoes come in. Consumers will be able to return their Futurecraft.Loop to Adidas when they’re no longer usable. The company will then break them down into pellets and use all the components to craft a new pair of shoes.
Adidas says it took decades of research to develop a manufacturing process that could assemble a shoe that’s essentially a solid piece of plastic without using glue, yet at the same time do it without compromising on performance. Unfortunately, the Futurecraft.Loop process isn’t 1:1 yet; a single old running shoe doesn’t create one new shoe. While 100% of every shoe can be recycled, that recycled material can only constitute 10% of the next generation of Loop shoe for the footwear to retain its level of performance. Adidas hopes to improve that ratio rapidly over the coming years.
Currently, the recyclable running shoe is in a global beta testing, where users will be asked to use the shoes to their full extent and provide Adidas feedback for tweaks ahead of a second generation release. A wider release isn’t coming until spring or summer of 2021.