Willow Smith Futurecraft.Loop

Adidas is looking to the future for its latest launch.

The German active brand on Wednesday unveiled Futurecraft.Loop, a completely recyclable performance running shoe that is the latest move in its mission to reduce plastic waste.

In a presentation at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York, Adidas introduced the shoe, the components of which are made from 100 percent reusable thermoplastic polyurethane that is spun to yarn, knit, molded and clean-fused using the company’s Speedfactory technology.

But more than that, once the shoes are ready to be replaced, they are intended to be returned to Adidas, where they will be washed, ground to pellets and melted into material that will be used to create a new pair.

“Taking plastic waste out of the system is the first step, but we can’t stop there,” said Eric Liedtke, executive board member for Adidas, who is  responsible for global brands. “What happens to your shoes after you’ve worn them out? You throw them away — except there is no away. There are only landfills and incinerators and ultimately an atmosphere choked with excess carbon, or oceans filled with plastic waste. The next step is to end the concept of ‘waste’ entirely. Our dream is that you can keep wearing the same shoes over and over again. 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; proof that we can build high-performance running shoes that you don’t have to throw away.”

Adidas and Parley for the Oceans introduced an upper for footwear in 2015 that was made entirely of yarns and filaments reclaimed and recycled from marine plastic waste and illegal deep-sea gillnets. This year, Adidas will produce 11 million pairs of shoes with this Ocean Plastic by Parley product, which is created by collecting plastic waste on beaches, remote islands and coastal communities. Adidas has said it is committed to using only recycled polyester in every product and on every application wherever possible by 2024.

Futurecraft.Loop was developed after nearly a decade of research and development by Adidas in partnership with its materials, manufacturing and recycling partners in Asia, Europe and North America.

Tanyaradzwa Sahanga, manager of technology innovation at Adidas, said: “We set out to create a new type of product that we can take back, grind up and reapply into new Adidas product. We knew this was a far-reaching vision in every way; technically and even behaviorally. There were times when it didn’t seem like we could get over some of the technical hurdles — now we’ve made the first leap, the playing field has changed.”

The first generation of the shoes will be introduced today to around 200 influencers, who are being asked to wear and recycle the shoes and provide Adidas with feedback. A commercial version will be offered for sale to the general public for spring 2021. The retail price has not yet been established, but a company spokesman said it will be priced similarly to the brand’s other running shoes. “We believe sustainable choices must be as accessible as regular product and not come at a premium,” she said. 

To get the message out, Adidas has created a series of videos that will be shared on social media today, including one featuring Willow Smith, a champion of environmental causes and the face of the project. In her video, she has a voice over that says: “If we can return, we reciprocate, we regenerate….The future is about giving back.”

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