Athletic shoe giant Adidas and Parley for the Oceans, an organization aiming to drastically reduce ocean pollution, have joined their earth-saving forces to create a 3D-printed sneaker made out of recycled ocean plastic.
The shoe is based on Adidas’ Futurecraft 3D, a prototype for a 3D-printed shoe unveiled early last year that would make customizable shoes on demand.
Designed by Alexander Taylor, the Adidas x Parley shoe utilizes an identical manufacturing method to the Futurecraft 3D, but replaces the yarns and fibers with repurposed materials; The upper is constructed of assorted ocean plastic and the 3D-printed midsole is fabricated entirely of recycled polyester and gill nets.
“This way there is no reason why materials with similar characteristics to those that we use every day with conventional production processes cannot be simply replaced by ocean plastic materials,” Taylor reported to Dezeen.
The amount of plastic garbage floating around the oceans is jaw dropping: 5.25 trillion pieces, to be exact. 269,000 tons of this mass remains on the surface while an estimated four billion plastic microfibers per square kilometer are in the deep sea.
These numbers don’t just sound huge—they’re so staggering that scientists refer to them as the “wow factor” of ocean trash.
Plastic debris in the oceans is overwhelmingly threatening to marine life. Approximately 100,000 whales are entangled in plastic marine debris every year. In addition, an inestimable number (but likely on the order of millions) of other wildlife are harmed by the plastic waste in the world’s oceans.
Adidas says they hope the new shoes will promote education and awareness of ocean pollution as well as offer a sustainable shoe product for consumers. “We want to bring everyone in the industry to the table and create sustainable solutions for global problems,” Eric Leidtke, Adidas Group executive board member, said in a recent statement .
While the Adidas x Parley shoe is still in its prototype phase, the “three stripes” has already pledged to take further steps to aid in the reduction of plastic pollution. First on the list is phasing out plastic bags in their retail stores, a goal set for the first sales quarter of this year.