Adidas unveils recyclable trainers

Adidas has started fresh pilots for a recyclable mono-material shoe made using recycled plastic

Adidas revealed on Wednesday (14 October) that it is handing out 1,500 prototype pairs of a shoe called the UltraBOOST DNA LOOP, which is made from a single type of plastic and does not contain any glue. The trainers are designed to be easily recyclable at the end of their use and Adidas has invested in dedicated recycling infrastructure to take back the shoes.

200 pairs of the first prototype of these shoes were handed out in April 2019, and then, in November 2019, the same 200 people received a pair of the second edition, made using recycled materials from the first batch. Adidas said in a statement that it has used the learnings from these trials to scale up production.

The brand is planning to publicly launch the trainers and potentially other products with similar recyclability and recycled content claims in 2021, under the tagline ‘Made to be Remade’. In the meantime, the 1,500 recipients of a pair will be asked to log their experience through the Adidas app.

“We don’t think of UltraBOOST DNA LOOP as simply a high-performance running shoe, but as an experience where every owner plays a vital part,” Adidas’ vice president of brand strategy James Carnes said.

“To make this a success, we need to understand the human element – how people can be encouraged to return the shoes to be recycled – because while we control the creation, we can only influence what happens when the shoes leave us.”

Adidas is notably working to remove all virgin plastic components from its products and packaging by 2024. It is currently designing alternatives made using post-consumer recycled, pre-consumer recycled and compostable materials, including ocean plastics and mechanically recycled yarn.

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