Sneakers made from plastic waste

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Adidas working with Parley For The Oceans to recover plastic from the Ocean


The new shoes are the first to come out of Adidas’ recent partnership with Parley for the Oceans, an organization that aims to end pollution of the world’s oceans. “We are extremely proud that Adidas is joining us in this mission and is putting its creative force behind this partnership to show that it is possible to turn ocean plastic into something cool,” Parley founder Cyrill Gutsch said.

Reported by Adele Peters, “Adidas Knit These Sneakers Entirely From Ocean Plastic Trash,” CoExist at Fast Company, and Andrew Lord, “Adidas Created A Shoe That Is Literally Made Out Of Trash,” Huffington Post, both on June 30, 2015.

Source of the raw material:

According to Andrew Lord, The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which collaborated with Adidas, retrieved the fishing nets over the course of a 110-day expedition to track an illegal poaching vessel off the coast of West Africa. The green nets collected during that voyage (see the picture below) can be seen in the design of the upper shoe.


“We’re going to end ocean plastic pollution only if we’re going to reinvent the material,” says Gutsch. “We need a plastic that is not the current plastic—it’s a design failure. It causes a lot of problems. Plastic doesn’t belong in nature, it doesn’t belong in the belly of a fish, it doesn’t belong out there. The ultimate solution is to cut into this ongoing stream of material that never dies, is to reinvent plastic.” Because without a reinvention, the plastic still exists in your shoe, which, presumably, you’ll throw out again at some point, putting the plastic back into the system—and potentially the ocean.

Knitting the fabric from fishing nets

A picture of the Adidas Shoe sitting on an illegal fishing net is shown below.  Recovering these nets was a great idea and the concept of knitting the tops of the shoes, eliminating the cutting waste makes a lot of sense too, but the plastic is not biodegradable.  What’s required is a knittable, biodegradable plastic line.  The trick is stopping bio-degradation until you dispose of the shoes.

Adidas_Shoe_150702Adidas is knitting the shoe using the same innovative technology they use to create Primeknit shoes with zero waste. “Knitting in general eliminates waste, because you don’t have to cut out the patterns like on traditional footwear,” says Eric Liedtke, Adidas Group executive board member of global brands. “We use what we need for the shoe and waste nothing.”

When will the “Green Shoe” be available?:

Adidas expects it will be later this year.

Value Curve for the “Green Shoe”, and future, Adidas Shoes:

Value Innovations has developed Value Curves for the new Adidas Green shoe (the green curve) and a future model that we would hope Adidas would produce from a biodegradable plastic line (the blue curve) using the Primekit process – see below

Adidas_Shoe_VC_2_150703What are your thoughts?:

  1. Do we have the right Elements of Performance (EoPs) [Fit, Comfort, Design, etc.]?
  2. Are they rank ordered correctly?  If not, what should move up, or move down in order of importance?
  3. To deliver exceptional value to the consumer, does Adidas need to develop the shoe produced from a biodegradable plastic line?
  4. Will you buy the “Green Shoe” when its available?

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Sources for this Weekly Blast:

Read more from the Adele Peters article and Andrew Lord’s article

All photos courtesy Adidas/Parley for the Oceans

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2 Responses

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