Furthering the brand’s commitment to environmental friendliness, adidas unveils the FUTURECRAFT.LOOP, the brand’s first-ever 100% recyclable performance-level sneakers. For more than a decade, the brand has researched and tested ways to create sneakers and other sportswear made to regress into raw material and reincarnated as a new pair of shoes or a different product entirely. Today’s unveiling is not only a hallmark in material innovation, but also the beginning of a needed cultural shift toward rethinking what we do with our footwear once we’re done with it.
Three-striped eco-friendly releases first debuted in 2015 in collaboration with Parley for the Oceans as footwear concept that was built from yarns and filaments spun from reclaimed and recycled marine plastic waste. It was an impressive start with momentum only gaining. Since, demand has grown and efforts have been expanded. This year, the brand will produce more than 11 million shoes made with OceanPlastic (the material made from marine waste). That’s an astounding number, especially when their sources are considered—Parley only uses waste collected in coastal communities or removed from beaches and remote islands.
The FUTURECRAFT.LOOP sneaker is equally impressive considering the intricacies and expectations of performance wear. Remarkably, they’re produced without glue and using just one material: 100% reusable TPU. The laces, upper, insole, boost midsole and outsole are all engineered with different densities, pliabilities and forms to create the shoe’s structure and silhouette. And while this first pair is an un-dyed, natural off-white, future pairs can don any/all hues, as the process can be followed with any base color.
Today’s release of 200 pairs (all of which were made in the Atlanta Speedfactory) is the next step in an iterative process to bring this concept to market by Spring 2021. Those who received the shoes have been asked to put them through all the paces of normal daily exercise and, one day, return them to the brand to be studied as they go through the process of being remade into the raw materials that will go into another pair.
Pricing, while still to be determined, won’t be inaccessible. After all, doing good shouldn’t cost more. While the sneakers are excellent and will last, getting consumers to return them will require breaking some habits, and adidas is looking at both emotional and financial incentives to help that part of the process.
Beyond bringing FUTURECRAFT.LOOP to market in the next 18 months, the brand boldly commits that by 2024, in all situations where it’s possible, recycled polyester and OceanPlastic will be used to create their products.
Images by Josh Rubin