Let’s talk about Adidas and Eco-friendly shoes, shall we?

If you’re looking for anything second hand but struck out in the likes of Toi market, you’re most likely going to end up in Gikomba market. And if you’re visiting it for the first time, no one can really prepare you for this expanse the market. An image that has forever stayed with me from my first excursion was the open field section of just kids’ clothes going for as cheap as Ksh 20. But it makes you wonder, where does it all go to make space for the new ‘camera’ selection that will come in a week or month from now? Even with the throngs of humanity pushing and shoving around the second hand clothing, there just aren’t enough buyers to swallow up the mass. In previous articles we’re talked about landfills and the fact that the earth just can’t keep up with our discarded fashion rate.

Adidas Biosteel trainers biodegradable fabric shoes fashion design. [Image: Adidas / Dezeen]
Adidas Biosteel trainers biodegradable fabric shoes fashion design. [Image: Adidas / Dezeen]

So when Adidas dropped the news of a shoe that could biodegrade, it definitely got our curiosity senses tingling. We already met this company in this series as a listed pledge to the Detox campaign by Greenpeace and its current progress was listed as evolution mode in the latest Detox Catwalk report. However, news popped up about a week ago furthering their eco-fashion endeavours. Their latest addition to their Futurecraft series is their Futurecraft Biofabric trainers made from 100 per cent biodegradable material. These Adidas trainers are fashioned from Biosteel fibres, which are created by a German biotechnology company AMSilk which imitates natural silk.

Adidas Biosteel trainers biodegradable fabric shoes fashion design. [Image: Adidas / Dezeen]
Adidas Biosteel trainers biodegradable fabric shoes fashion design. [Image: Adidas / Dezeen]

Don’t worry, they confirmed in an interview with Gizmodo that the shoe wouldn’t begin to decompose in the wearer’s feet. To activate the decomposition process, the shoes would need to be place in water that has high concentrations of proteinase –a naturally occurring digestion enzyme – to start dissolving. Once it does, it would take 36 hours to decompose. This new venture in bionic innovation territory doesn’t just push the trainers into a new level of sustainability (in addition to being vegan and non-allergen) but also allegedly makes them stronger yet 15% lighter than conventional synthetic fibre sneakers.

Adidas Biosteel trainers biodegradable fabric shoes fashion design. [Image: Adidas / Dezeen]
Adidas Biosteel trainers biodegradable fabric shoes fashion design. [Image: Adidas / Dezeen]

The series has also produced other impressive models that contribute to the eco fashion movement. Working with Adidas and Parley for Oceans, British designer Alexander Taylor created the Adidas x Parley running shoe which was unveiled during this year’s World Oceans Day held on June 8th. Parley for the Oceans – an initiative that encourages creatives to repurpose ocean waste and raise awareness of the growing environmental issue.

The shoe uses fishing nets and waste plastic to create fibres that are incorporated in the existing footwear’s manufacturing process. Considering that approximately eight million metric tons of plastic wind up in the world’s oceans each year, this is stylish step in the fight to help save endangered ocean ecosystems. They started with a limited edition of 50 pairs, however the brand announced its intentions to make a million pairs of its ocean plastic shoes in 2017. If they go through with it, this could possibly eliminate all virgin plastic from Adidas’ supply chain.

Parley World Oceans Day Plastic Adidas Trainer [Image: Adidas / Dezeen]
Parley World Oceans Day Plastic Adidas Trainer [Image: Adidas / Dezeen]

There’s also the limited version of Adidas’ Superstar trainer that makes a seamless upper using a single piece of leather. We can see how that would effectively reduce waste from the cutting floor that contributes to landfills. And it’s also interesting to note that the brand in late 2008/ early 2009, when launching their Originals range, decided to do so the environmentally ethical way. The retro items were consciously made with environmentally conscious materials. For the Adidas D-Nizza trainer jacket, they collaborated with the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) for their One Planet Living initiative that wanted to raise awareness on how we could live within the world’s natural resources. From recycled packaging to the use of natural materials such as bamboo, as well as recycled leather and rubber the footwear brand went all green in creating the vintage- famed three-stripe line.

Parley World Oceans Day Plastic Adidas Trainer [Image: Adidas / Dezeen]
Parley World Oceans Day Plastic Adidas Trainer [Image: Adidas / Dezeen]

Adidas’ newest innovation possesses an interesting concept that could possibly hold the answer to the landfill issues society is currently dealing with. Could creating clothing and textiles that naturally break down either to enrich the land or maybe reduced to its basic form to go towards making a new fabric be the answer? And is it an answer that would be cost effective? (Let’s hope it’s not the same scenarios as the power laces that retail at $720! Yikes).

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