Adidas Creates Fully Recyclable Sneakers

The sportswear giant wants to create a 'closed loop' manufacturing model, where raw materials can be repurposed again and again
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'Made to be remade' (Photo: Adidas)

Sportswear giant Adidas has created a fully-recyclable sneaker.

Called the Futurecraft.LOOP, the sneaker, which is currently being trialed by beta testers, is slated for release in 2021.

The shoe is made entirely from a single material - virgin thermoplastic polyurethane. According to Adidas, sports footwear 'typically include complex material mixes and component gluing - resulting in a shoe which can only be downcycled'.

Closed loop

As this design uses only one material and no glue, after use, it can be returned to Adidas, where it will be broken down and the materials reused to create new sneakers.

This is described by Adidas as a 'closed loop' manufacturing model, 'where the raw materials can be repurposed again and again. But not just repurposed into a water bottle or a tote, but into another pair of high-performance running shoes'.

Ending the concept of 'waste'

"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 behaviourally," Tanyaradzwa Sahanga, Manager, Technology Innovation, at Adidas, said in a statement.

"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. We cannot create a circular future on our own, we are going to need each other. We're excited to see this first step come to life as part of the beta launch."

'Made to be remade'

Once the sneakers are returned to Adidas, they will be 'washed, ground to pellets and melted into material for components for a new pair of shoes'.

Liedtke added: "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."

*This article was corrected on April 28. An earlier version said the shoe was made from recycled ocean plastic and not virgin thermoplastic polyurethane.