Adidas is set to launch its first fully recyclable trainer that comes with a never-ending lifespan. The Futurecraft Loop trainer will be released for spring 2021, and will be made from 100 per cent recyclable material.
Adidas partnered with Parley for the Oceans – an organization working to raise awareness of the threat to the world’s oceans – to create the shoe, which will be made from reclaimed marine plastic waste.
After nearly a decade of research and development, the German sports retailer has found a way to make every aspect of the shoe – from laces to woven upper and sturdy sole – from a plastic called Thermoplastic Polyeutherane (TPU).
The beauty of this, a simple idea that’s actually incredibly technically advanced and has been six years in the making, is that the trainers are fully recyclable. Run a pair of Futurecraft Loop trainers to the end of their first life, and they can be returned to Adidas, who will then wash them and grind the material into pellets which can then be melted down to create material components for a new pair of shoes.
Just one material: the key
This single material is the key to its recyclability – one of the biggest challenges in recycling sneakers is that they are made of lots of different materials, and difficult to divide up and repurpose.
“That’s a problem because you can’t recycle 12 to 15 materials in one recycling area”, said Adidas executive board member Eric Liedtke.
“You’d have to recycle each of them individually in 12 to 15 different ways, and figure out the decomposition to take apart the shoe and figure out how to get those materials onto the recycling area”, Liedtke added.
“The solution of the Loop is that it is made of one single material and can be recycled in one dongle process and one stable demonstration – and can be recycled again and again and again”, he continued. “It’s a statement for us to show to the world that we can do better”.