05/04/18 adidas Sold A Million Pairs of Sneakers Made with Recycled Ocean Plastic

adidas sold one million pairs of UltraBoost trainers made out of recycled plastic from the ocean in 2017.

The first shoes in partnership with environmental advocate Parley for the Oceans, were unveiled as a prototype during an event at the United Nations headquarters in New York in July 2015 and in 2016, to coincide with World Oceans Day, the UltraBoost trainers made from 95% ocean plastic and 5% recycled polyester were launched as a limited edition of 50 pairs.



Last year, the sportswear giant launched three new versions of their sustainable kicks, rolling out one million pairs into the market. The partnership with Parley has been part of the company’s effort to use more environmentally friendly materials in its products.

This also includes a collaboration with Stella McCartney, with a new version of the Ultra Boost trainer that featured Primeknit uppers made from Parley Ocean Plastic.

The designer, who is creative director at adidas, was described by founder of Parley for the Oceans Cyrill Gutsch, as a pioneer and a role model.

“Stella McCartney is a pioneer, a rebel really,” said Gutsch. “Her vision to create fashion without using leather, without using fur was radical when she started and is proven now.”

“She has always been a role model for me. To partner with her is an honour and a huge opportunity for the ocean-plastic movement.”


Image courtesy: Stella McCartney x Adidas x Parley Ultra Boost X trainers

Building on its eco efforts, adidas has also been focused on creating the “footwear of the future”—products that are made more efficiently, with greater performance capabilities and a cleaner production process.

This includes 3-D printed footwear, with the brand working with molecular science and 3-D manufacturing firm Carbon Inc., to develop its Futurecraft 4D sneaker, which uses Carbon’s 3-D midsole to improve the shoes’ performance (instead of breaking down after 30,000 cycle tests, could withstand the 100,000 that traditional footwear materials do).

By revealing these numbers, adidas is proving that footwear made from sustainable materials is not a gimmick but a genuine fashion challenger that will soon become the norm.

Demand is real. And, while it may not touch on the millions of trainers the company churns out on an annual basis, this has got the industry moving in the right direction. In the words of the three stripes mega-brand, “from threat into thread.”