adidas releases Zero Waste plan, starting with 100% recyclable tennis shoes


Before we get into the details of launching new adidas footwear, let's give context: in recent years, adidas has led three major initiatives – Parley, Futurecraft and Speedfactory. Through a partnership with Parley, the adidas footwear and clothing line, made primarily of recycled plastic, has meant a shift to environmental awareness of the brand. Before Parley worked with a company to produce a product, they required a promise from the company, essentially declaring their actionable plan to implement less plastic in their production process. The Parley initiative yielded to adidas: the collaboration resulted in a product that is in the hands of today's consumers and positioned adidas as a fast fashion company that at least cared enough about the environment to experience.

Then there's Speedfactory and Futurecraft, which focus more on customization and innovation with industrial processes. "Speedfactories" are real facilities (the first one was in Germany) which focus on simplifying the customization process and creating a unique product based on individual consumer needs. Futurecraft is the company's comprehensive seal for innovative designs, producing remarkably Futurecraft 4Ds, a 3D midsole runner, designed in partnership with Carbon. The goal of Futurecraft 4D was also personalization, since the 3D printing process is capable of producing customized midsole with specific density placement based on the individual user's need.

Parley, Speedfactory and Futurecraft have been kept separate with a little overlap here and there but adidas has just announced a new product and business strategy under the umbrella of Futurecraft that seems to combine important elements of all three initiatives.

Futurecraft.loop is an approach to designing shoes that are made to be redone using only one material (100% reusable TPU) and no glue. The TPU is treated in several ways to create a full shoe, including being woven, knitted, molded and cast with the midsole of BOOST. The process employs the use of SPEEDFACTORY technology, which combines sustainable effort with the rapid production of special models.

Once the shoes are worn to death, they must be returned to adidas where they are washed, turned into pellets and melted into material to create a new pair of shoes. The process produces zero waste and no material is thrown away.

Instead of launching another sneaker, adidas is launching a complete system that we are curious to put into practice – hopefully in 2021. adidas has already proven its ability to innovate in the space of the material and manufacture custom products at a relatively high price. speed, then now comes the real challenge: pull the knowledge of your past efforts to implement a true zero-waste closed loop system as part of your business model. Their proposed system also involves empowering consumers to return used shoes to be reused and redone in the next pair. How will this process be communicated and designed? Will consumers care enough to put in the effort to return old shoes? Only time will tell, but for now, 200 testers will have a beta pair on hand to help adidas analyze the future look of the company.


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