As sports footwear typically include complex material mixes and component glueing - resulting in a shoe which can only be downcycled – designing and developing a recyclable shoe presented a major challenge. According to adidas, that challenge has now been met.
After close to a decade of research and development the company has now launched the first generation of what it calls the Futurecraft.Loop shoe, a designed-for-recycling product using one material type and no glue. Each component is made from 100% reusable TPU, which is spun to yarn, knitted, moulded and clean-fused to a BOOST midsole featuring the company’s proprietary innovative cushioning technology.
Adidas is seeking to establish a “closed loop” or circular manufacturing model, where the raw materials can be repurposed and made into new high-performance running shoes. Users will be able to return the shoes to adidas at the end of their first life, where they will be washed, ground to pellets and melted into material for components for a new pair of shoes.
According to adidas, the Futurecraft.Loop project is a “statement of our intent to take responsibility for the entire life of our product”.
“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,” said Tanyaradzwa Sahanga, manager, Technology Innovation, at adidas. “We’re excited to see this first step come to life as part of the beta launch.”
The first-gen Future.Loop shoe is being rolled out as part of a global beta program with 200 leading Creators - loyal customers with early access to products who are members of the Creators Club - from around the world. adidas will challenge them to run, return the shoes and share feedback on their experience, ahead of the second-gen drop.