Adidas joins the race for a circular economy

Adidas has developed the first fully recyclable running shoe. Futurecraft.Loop is made of a material that can be ground and melted for re-use in a circular manufacturing model. The shoe will be launched in 2021.

When your running shoes wear out in the future, they should receive a second life: as running shoes, at least according to sportswear manufacturer adidas. It has developed a new running shoe called Futurecraft.Loop, the world’s first fully recyclable footwear.

According to adidas, sports footwear typically consists of complex material mixes and component gluing, which means that they can only be downcycled, but not recycled.

After nearly a decade of R&D, adidas has now succeeded in developing a shoe using one material type that is spun to yarn, knitted and moulded without using any glue. The result: once the shoes come to the end of their first life, they can be returned to adidas where they are then washed, ground to pellets and melted into material for components for a new pair of shoes.

“Our dream is that you can keep wearing the same shoes over and over again,” said Eric Liedtke, adidas board member. “Futurecraft.Loop is our first running shoe that is made to be remade. It is a statement of our intent to take responsibility for the entire life of our product.”

Futurecraft.Loop is now being tested by some 200 people worldwide and is expected to be launched for wider release in spring/summer 2021.

But it is not adidas’ first experience with recycled materials. In 2015, the sportswear manufacturer teamed up with Parley for the Oceans to produce a shoe using material from recycled marine plastic waste and illegal fishing nets intercepted on beaches, remote islands and coastal communities. Its goal is to use only recycled polyester in every product by 2024.

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