The world’s first sneaker made from recycled ocean plastic is headed for the production line. First teased in 2015, the Adidas x Parley for the Oceans Ultra Boost Uncaged is graduating from a limited run of 50 to 1 million pairs by 2017, the sportswear manufacturer said. In fact, the first mass-manufactured lot—all 7,000 pairs of them—will drop sometime this month, along with soccer jerseys for the sports clubs Bayern Munich and Real Madrid. Like the shoes, the jerseys will incorporate upcycled marine waste collected by Parley’s clean-up operations in the Maldives, a string of 1,000 coral islands off India’s western coast.
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With a design inspired by ocean waves, each Ultra Boost sneaker features a knitted upper composed of 95 percent Parley Ocean Plastic—the patented term for the material—and 5 percent recycled polyester. The laces, cap base, heel webbing, heel lining, and sock-liner cover are also made of recycled materials.
Adidas calls its collaboration with Parley the “beginning of the end of ocean plastic.”
“Our ultimate ambition is to eliminate virgin plastic from our supply chain,” Liedtke said.
“This represents another step on the journey of Adidas and Parley for the Oceans; we have not only managed to make footwear from recycled ocean plastic, but have also created the first jersey coming 100 percent out of the ocean,” Eric Liedtke, Adidas group executive board member responsible for global brands, said in a statement. “But we won’t stop there. We will make one million pairs of shoes using Parley Ocean Plastic in 2017—and our ultimate ambition is to eliminate virgin plastic from our supply chain.”
Cyrill Gutsch, founder of Parley for the Oceans, says that we’re well past the point of simply talking about ocean pollution.
“At this point, it’s no longer just about raising awareness,” Gutsch said. “It’s about taking action and implementing strategies that can end the cycle of plastic pollution for good.”