Adidas to Sell 1 Million Sneakers Made From Parley’s Recycled Ocean Plastic

For a while, Adidas and Parley for the Oceans, an organization dedicated to reducing plastic waste in oceans, have collaborated on shoes made of recycled plastic from oceans. Last year, they 3-D printed a prototype, with the goal of demonstrating how the industry could "rethink design and help stop ocean plastic pollution," according to Adidas. Now they are making actual pairs of shoes available for you to buy. Around 7,000 pairs will be sold at stores and online for $220 starting in mid-November. The shoe has an "upper" made of 95% ocean plastic — scooped up near the Maldives — and the rest of the shoe is made from largely recycled materials as well. It's called "UltraBOOST Uncaged Parley." While only 7,000 are going on sale now, Adidas has big plans for these types 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," the company said, according to The Verge.

Here is what the Adidas and Parley for the Oceans shoes (and concept ones) look like:

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And here were the original concept shoes from last year:

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Eric Liedtke, an Adidas group executive board member for global brands, said the shoe is coming at the right time, with current and future generations of sneaker consumers becoming more interested in backing causes to make the world a better place to live.

“The millennials and the centennials, they want to be purpose-driven, they want to help be a solution, but they don’t know how — and there’s too many companies out there that are just marketing that,” he said. “What we’re trying to do is allow them to opt in to solve big issues.”

Eric Liedtke. Courtesy of Adidas.

Although the Parley shoe will feature materials atypical to other iterations of the currently unidentified model shoe, its performance attributes will be unaffected.

“You get the same superior fit, you get the same performance, but with ocean plastics,” Matthias Amm, running category director for Adidas, said of the shoe.

Liedtke added, “The consumer won’t accept compromise, and nor should we. We have to make sure that we give them exactly what they’re expecting. … You can’t compromise quality.”

Aside from news of an upcoming shoe release, Adidas and Parley for the Oceans said that 19 countries have shown initial interest in supporting the movement and becoming members as of its Sept. 22 meeting at the UN in New York.

“The time of speaking, the time of testing, the time of experimenting is over. We need to move fast,” said Cyrill Gutsch, founder of Parley for the Oceans. “We are at war with the oceans without knowing it — destroying it, taking out everything we can and dumping everything we don’t need. If the oceans die, we’re going to die because they provide everything we need.”

Liedtke said that aside from shoes, Adidas is working on eliminating plastics in all facets of its business.

“At our headquarters, we’ve eliminated all plastic: There’s no straws, no lids, no bottles. It’s all glass or reusables,” he said. “We eliminated plastic bags for shopping — that’s 70 million bags a year; we have no plastic bags in our stores. We’re committed to this cause.”