Sports brand Adidas and environmental initiative Parley for the Oceans have released the first batch of running shoes with uppers made using recycled plastic recovered from the sea (+ movie).
Coinciding with World Oceans Day held on June 8, the Adidas x Parley trainers have been launched as a limited edition of 50 pairs to be earned rather than purchased.
Those who wish to gain a pair are required to take part in an Instagram competition, submitting a video that demonstrates their commitment to stop using single-use plastic items.
Designed by London-based Alexander Taylor, the shoes are made using Adidas’ existing footwear manufacturing processes but the usual synthetic fibres are replaced with yarns made from the recycled Parley Ocean Plastic.
“This project triggered a new way for me to work and imagine how my studio could adapt and evolve in the future,” said Taylor.
“A designer can be the agitator and the agent for change. He must be entrepreneurial in spirit, seeking out collaborators to reach amazing solutions which outperform and offer truly viable alternatives to current methods.”
Adidas and Parley for the Ocean design ocean plastic trainers
The green wave pattern across the uppers is created from recycled gill net, which was dredged from the sea and recycled into the fibre.
The rest of the upper is formed using waste plastic collected around the Maldives, where the government is collaborating with Parley to rid the island chain of the issue within five years.
The trainers were first unveiled as a prototype during an event at the United Nations headquarters in New York in July 2015. In December, a version that combined the recycled uppers with soles 3D-printed fromocean plastic was also revealed.
“So much work has happened behind the scenes since we launched our partnership with Adidas,” said Parley for the Oceans founder Cyrill Gutsch. “We are creating new standards, new materials and technologies that are so different to those the sporting goods industry is used to.”
“It is an ongoing challenge, but we achieved the first step,” he continued. “Now we can replace new plastic with recycled marine plastic debris: Parley Ocean Plastic. We can create footwear and apparel products with it and we are ready to scale it up.”
“This Adidas x Parley running shoe is already iconic,” added Eric Liedtke, Adidas group executive board member responsible for global brands.
Parley has also partnered with G-Star RAW to produce collections of denim garments made using recycled plastic removed from the oceans.
This waste plastic is a growing concern among both environmentalists and designers, who have created products to help raise awareness of the problem and proposed a variety of solutions.
An Australian duo have created a floating rubbish bin that filters litter from marinas, while a 20-year-old inventor proposed a 100-kilometre array of floating barriers to help the cleanup effort.