News: Adidas x Allbirds co-creation for the lowest-emission sneaker

 Collaboration instead of competition is the name of the game at Futurecraft.Footprint - the sneaker with the lowest CO2 footprint to date

Woman runs across a flower meadow with Adidas Allbirds sneakers
Source and Copyright by Adidas & Allbirds

Author: Lara-Sophie Buckow

  • Futurecraft.Footprint is the first sneaker with a CO2 balance of <3KG
  • Months of development work between Adidas and Allbirds
  • Choice of material as the decisive factor

First sneaker with a CO2 footprint <3KG

Usually, competitors do everything they can, to differentiate themselves from one another. Adidas and Allbirds prove that there is another way. After 12 months of joint development work, they present the Futurecraft.Footprint, the first sneaker with a CO2 balance of 2.94kg CO2e. This means that they outperform the previous front-runner models 1L11 by Norm, with 6.5kg CO2e per pair, and the 2020 Space Hippie from Nike, with 3.7kg CO2e.

"Our partnership with Allbirds is a beacon of what can happen when competing brands from the same industry see the possibilities in coming together to design. By truly co-creating and providing each other with open access to knowledge and resources. This is a call-to-action for other brands, and a milestone in the sports industry achieving carbon neutrality.", said Brian Grevy, board member Global Brands at Adidas.

Adidas Allbirds Sneaker Close up

Source & Copyright by Adidas

Materials have the greatest impact on the greenhouse balance

In its quest for more sustainability in the sports industry, Adidas has already set some stones in motion: Most recently, the brand presented the latest generation of its Stan Smith classics from Mylo, the mushroom-based vegan leather. In addition, the lowest-emission shoe from Adidas to date was the Adizero RC3 with 7.86kg CO2e. With conventional sneakers, the value can be up to twice as high. The impact becomes clear when you consider that Adidas produced almost 400 million sneakers in 2020.

The young American collaboration partner Allbirds was only recently valued at US$ 1.4 billion. This is especially due to its ambitious sustainability goals. Because Allbirds also specializes in the use of natural, renewable and recycled materials. So far, the emissions of the popular wool runners have been around 7.6kg CO2e per pair. The largest part falls on the material.

Allbirds carbon footprint per sneaker, source & copyright by Allbirds

This clearly shows that the material used in the manufacturing process of sneakers is decisive for the CO2 balance. This has therefore been optimized in the new Futurecraft and consists of 70% recycled plastic and 30% natural fiber Tencel. No new plastic was produced for the shoe. Unfortunately, several material components still mean that the product is not 100% recyclable, to achieve a circular economy.

Real scalability requires investment

The shoe is real and the numbers are correct. But there is still a long way to go before the textile industry becomes truly sustainable. For the release only 100 pieces were raffled, 2021 pairs are to be produced by the end of 10.000. That's a drop in the ocean.

Like the creative director and sneaker designer Christopher Snyder recently explained in our interview: “In order for sustainable or an eco-conceived company to have a large impact on the market, we have to be able to build and adjust the infrastructure, to bring scalability to sustainable fabrics. But right now, there is not the infrastructure to produce a million products a day made of these innovative materials. "

In addition, intensive investments or reallocation of capital are required to develop alternative materials. In order to realize this, groups of manufacturers would have to get together and the government would need to get involved. Collaboration is therefore a good sign, that the path can only be taken together. But there is still a lot to do before the dream of truly sustainable sports shoes becomes a reality for everyone.

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