Adidas has unveiled new editions of UltraBOOST, UltraBOOST X and UltraBOOST Uncaged, all made from plastic ocean waste and offered under the footwear brand’s Parley for the Oceans.
The new models reuse an average of 11 plastic bottles per pair on laces, heel webbing, heel lining and sock liner covers. The uppers of the shoes are manufactured using adidas’ Primeknit technology, made from up to 95 percent Parley Ocean Plastic, which wraps the foot to supply lightweight comfort and fit.
The new Parley models will be available in-store and online starting May 10. The announcement comes just ahead of the Adidas x Parley Run for the Oceans digital event, hosted by Adidas subsidiary Runtastic and taking place the week of June 5-11 in celebration of World Oceans Day 2017 on June 8.
Adidas has been leading the way among sports and footwear brands in its investment in advanced manufacturing techniques, though along with that innovation, the company also has put its best foot forward in trying be more environmentally friendly in its manufacturing practices as well.
For the most part, this has been done on a pretty small scale. We're not saying Adidas rolled out a limited number of 3D-printed shoes made from recycled ocean plastics last November just to gain some buzz and headlines, but it has been unclear to what degree such shoes could transcend novelty status and come to represent the future of how Adidas wants to do business.
That initial rollout of 7,000 pairs of Parley shoes was a nice start, but a small one. A more recent commitment by Adidas-owned Reebok to produce Cotton + Corn shoes went a little further. This announcement to make multiple shoe models out of recycled materials goes some distance toward showing that Adidas is pretty serious about making shoes from recycled and environmentally progressive materials.
“The new additions to the Adidas x Parley collection are another step in our journey to creating one million pairs of UltraBOOST from up-cycled marine plastic,” Mathias Amm, product category director at Adidas Running, said in a statement. “As a global brand we have a responsibility to help change the world for the better. These designs reflect our support for a great cause, while delivering the exceptional performance we are renowned for — a powerful combination, which we hope will excite and inspire our global community as much as it does us.”
It's still too early to tell what Adidas' commitment to being a better corporate citizen of the planet will do at the point-of-sale, but as it creeps closer to its sustainability goals, we should start getting a sense for whether the thoughtful strategy makes any difference to consumers.