Adidas and sea-minded environmental group Parley for the Oceans have unveiled a running shoe made from recycled sea pollution to celebrate World Oceans Day. The shoe is made from plastic and used fishing nets recovered by the activist organization, Sea Shepherd, off the coast of Africa.
The entire upper part of the shoe is made from the recycled plastics and contains material from about 16.5 bottles and 13 grams of fish netting. The sole is made from a non-recycled material but fused together using bio-waste-powered steam. Creating a workable fiber was a simple process for the bottles, but not so much the netting.
Fishing nets, to no surprise, smell pretty awful. Once the smell is removed through intensive cleaning, the process is only half done. These nets are designed to withstand crushing, salty, ocean waves, and making them into a comfortable running shoe required grinding them into powder and refining it. This is where Adidas, with their international resources (and hefty pockets) stepped in.
A prototype of the shoe was released in 2015, but it wasn’t up to comfort standards demanded for a running shoe, or any footwear for that matter.
“It was a functional shoe in that you could put it on,” said Alexander Taylor, an industrial designer who collaborated on the shoe’s design. The finished model has undergone some changes and Adidas believes it’s ready to run with – and in.
Parley hopes the shoe will change the way industries think about materials they use for products. The company’s founder, Cyrill Gutsch, believes their partnership with Adidas will establish precedent for other companies by proving it’s possible to recycle and reuse plastic waste in a creative way.
“We are creating new standards, new materials and technologies that are so different to those the sporting goods industry is used to,” Gutsch said in a press statement after the release.
Looking to snag a pair? Well it’s not that simple. The shoe is limited to 50 pairs, not available for purchase. Instead, Parley will be hosting a social media contest beginning on World Oceans Day (June 8), and running through the end of July. Winners of the contest will receive a pair of recycled footwear.