Six months after unveiling a sneaker made almost entirely from recycled ocean trash, Adidas and Parley for the Oceans have done themselves one better. In addition to an upper made from reclaimed ocean plastic, the latest iteration of the shoe now features a three-dimensionally printed midsole derived from recycled polyester and illegal deep-sea gillnets. The sportswear giant feted the concept at the Parley Talks at COP21 in Paris as climate-change talks were taking place. Eric Liedtke, Adidas Group executive board member responsible for global brands, told the audience that the apparel industry cannot rely on the world’s governments for all the answers.
“World leaders forging an agreement is wonderful, but we shouldn’t need to be told to do the right thing,” Liedtke said. “The industry can’t afford to wait for directions any longer. Together with the network of Parley for the Oceans, we have started taking action and creating new sustainable materials and innovations for athletes. The 3D-printed ocean plastic shoe midsole stands for how we can set new industry standards if we start questioning the reason of what we create. We want to bring everyone from the industry to the table and create sustainable solutions for big global problems.”
But a shoe is not the only thing Adidas is doing for the oceans. It has started to phase out the use of plastic bags in its stores. And, together with license partner Coty, which produces a line of bodycare products under the Adidas name, the company will end the use of microbeads by December 31.
“2015 is our year, the year of the Oceans: the ocean movement successfully brought the cause onto the COP21 agenda in Paris,” said Cyrill Gutsch, founder of Parley for the Oceans, a multidisciplinary band of “creators, thinkers and leaders” who want to make ocean debris a valuable material for the fashion industry. “Protecting life underwater became the 14th development goal of the United Nations. With a framework of political goodwill in place, it is the right moment to transform words into action.”
Parley’s presence in Paris, he said, is all about “updating knowledge, sharing visions, fine-tuning strategies, creating concepts, and forging collaborations in order to kick-start change.
“We are really excited to have Adidas supporting us in this journey and showing how you can take concrete steps in the right direction,” Gutsch added.