Adidas, in collaboration with Parley for the Oceans, introduced the « Ocean Plastic Trainer » a model of sneakers made with a filament derived from recycled plastic waste from the oceans.
This running shoe was designed for Adidas by British designer, Alexander Taylor, and was introduced for the first time during a Parley for the Oceans event, an initiative that aims to encourage artists to reuse waste from the oceans to raise awareness of a growing environmental problem.
Taylor, in collaboration with Parley and Adidas, decided to make the shoes through the standard production process used by the brand, replacing, however, the yarn with plastic fibres obtained from rubbish and discarded fishing nets in the oceans . « This way – says Taylor – there is no reason why materials with similar characteristics to the ones that we use every day by way of conventional manufacturing processes cannot simply be replaced by plastic materials from the ocean ».
The company prototyped this idea last summer, but it was not exactly « ready-to-wear ». However, today Adidas is releasing a limited edition; 50 pairs of a new « improved » version able to meet all standards. The only virgin material in the footwear is the thermoplastic polyurethane; the upper part, however, is entirely made of recycled plastic, composed of about 16.5 grams of old bottles and 13 grams of plastic recovered from fishing nets.
The shoe is made by two types of recycled plastic: PET, most commonly used for water bottles, and nylon from fishing nets. PET is relatively soft, easier to dissolve and able to be turned into fibres, fishing nets, however, were hard to manipulate.
Adidas revealed its designs during a conference entitled « Oceans. Climate. Life », hosted at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, expecting to launch this concept as part of a wider range of sportswear. The brand also announced its intention to raise awareness about the state of the seas through sustainable collection made with reclaimed waste.
On the other hand, Cyrill Gutsch, founder of Parley, plans to collect plastic from beaches and oceans and recycle it into new materials to then sell them to creative companies. The goal is to find an effective way of communicating the urgency surrounding the world’s oceans to consumers. Gutsch decided, therefore, that his company needed an ambassador: plastic. Plastic is tangible, visual and easier to quantify than, for example, carbon emissions.