Adidas has teamed up with Parley for the Oceans — a movement aimed at eliminating the plastic waste that ends up in our seas — to create a new 3D-printed sneaker concept. The design consists of an upper made from "ocean plastic content" and a 3D-printed midsole made from recycled polyester and fishing nets. Adidas says the shoe "stands for how we can set new industry standards," but unfortunately it's just a prototype for now — don't expect to see it in stores any time soon.
Saving the oceans is a United Nations development goal
Parley is hoping its collaboration with Adidas (which began earlier this year with a similar design using recycled materials) will boost their profile for the ongoing climate talks in Paris. "Protecting life underwater became the 14th development goal of the United Nations," said Parley's founder Cyrill Gutsch in a press statement. "Therefore, Parley in Paris is all about updating knowledge, sharing visions, fine-tuning strategies, creating concepts and forging collaborations in order to kickstart change."
The shoe itself is based on the design of Adidas' Futurecraft 3D, a 3D-printed shoe concept unveiled earlier this year. Adidas said the prototype was a "statement of intent," with the company imagining a future where customers walk into a store to have their running style analyzed, before a custom-fitted shoe is 3D-printed for them while they wait.
It's an interesting model for the future, but we'd like it even more if there was the option of using materials that are completely sustainable and recycled. After all, what's the point of dredging plastic waste from the ocean to make your running shoes if the process of recovering, reforming, and 3D-printing that material is, itself, environmentally damaging. There's no point in creating a product that is more about good PR than good deeds.