In recent years, Adidas has collaborated with Parley for the Oceans, recreating Adidas’ most popular shoes with a twist. Originally starting in 2015, Parley and Adidas have used recycled plastics from the ocean to create shoes, in the process taking plastic out of the sea, and reducing the brand with the three stripes’ production of plastic. Although at first it was only a few collaborations on the Adidas UltraBoost, over the last five years, Adidas and Parley have created more and more Eco-friendly versions of popular sneakers, creating a growing movement that is leading footwear towards change.
Parley for the Oceans describes itself as “the place where creators, thinkers, and leaders come together to raise awareness for the beauty and fragility of our oceans,” and since its inception in 2012, Parley for the Oceans has carried out over 1900 cleanups in 28 countries. It has quickly gained a large following, and as a result has been able to work with many big company’s, including Adidas.
As well as the Parley collaboration, Adidas are in the early stages of creating a shoe,known as the Futurecraft Loop, that once it has been worn in, can be sent back to be refurbished, and given back to the wearer. This would reduce plastic usage and waste greatly, as your sneaker would no longer be thrown away, but would be recycled and worn again.
Although the Futurecraft Loop is still in early stages of development, the Parley collaboration has been a success story for the last five years. How it works is plastic is collected from oceans and on the beaches, and is recycled into thread. This can then be woven into a knit for the upper, the laces, or nearly any part of a shoe that is made with plastic. In the past, Adidas have used recycled polyester and sustainable cotton, however the Parley collaboration is the first time Adidas have been able to do something like this on such a large scale.
Parley’s founder Cyrill Gutsch has mentioned in interviews that he does not believe it is possible to clear the oceans of plastic, what is required is finding a substitute for its production in the first place. But, the great benefit of a brand like Parley trying to clean up the oceans, and working with billion dollar brands, is that it gives the cause exposure, and serves Parley’s goal of raising awareness. Clearly they are on to something, as this article is evidence that they have succeeded in giving the issue more attention, and thanks to Adidas, have the platform to share their goal with the world.
Nearly ever brand by now has done a run of Eco-friendly clothing or made an ad about saving the planet, but these attempts have often been seen as ingenuine. The clothes are often a limited release, and the actions are normally in the hope of improving the public perception of the company, instead of actually helping look after the world. Adidas however, along side Parley, have broken this cycle, creating a large scale movement to look after the oceans, and this is something the sneaker industry needs. It may still be baby steps in the grand scheme of things, however the first step is always the most important, no matter how small.