Last year, the renowned German company 3-D printed a prototype with the goal of demonstrating how the industry could "rethink design and help stop ocean plastic pollution."
Now they are making actual pairs of shoes available to buy. Priced at € 220, the shoes, which contain 11 plastic bottles, have been sold at Adidas’ stores and online since mid-November.
The upper part of the shoe is made of 5% recycled polyester and 95% waste plastic, scooped up near the Maldives — and the rest of the shoe is made from largely recycled materials as well (including the heel, lining, and laces). Adidas’ latest running shoe is subtle and soft-looking, with stitching that evokes the sea.
While only 7,000 pieces are on sale now, Adidas has big plans for this type of shoes. "We will make one million pairs of shoes using Parley Ocean Plastic in 2017, and our ultimate ambition is to eliminate virgin plastic from our supply chain," Eric Liedtke, an Adidas executive, said.
"Nobody can save the oceans alone. Each of us can play a role in the solution," Cyrill Gutsch, the founder of Parley for the Oceans, told The Verge. "It’s in the hands of the creative industries to reinvent faulty materials, products, and business models. The consumer can boost the demand for change."
It’s no secret that the world’s oceans are filled with plastic and that this is harming marine life. Each year, 8 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean - the equivalent of a rubbish truck of waste every minute, according to a report from the World Economic Forum.
And the rate of plastic pollution is only expected to increase as more and more plastic is used globally, especially in emerging economies with weaker waste and recycling regimes.
When supply chains become circular and self-sustaining, the environment is protected from overexploitation and pollution. If this became the norm, then environments everywhere would be saved, and then there would be a lot more space to test out these sneakers.
As Adidas notes on the product page, the shoes are “spinning the problem into a solution. The threat into a thread.”
This initiative allows consumers everywhere to show their appreciation for the oceans and could potentially spur other companies to see the ocean’s waste problem as an opportunity for innovative environmentalism. The huge multinational corporation is indeed shining a light on the problem and is lending credibility to clean-up efforts.
As well as the Parley trainers, the company is also using recycled ocean waste to make limited edition football kits for Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.
Watch here the video of this incredible initiative: