HERZOGENAURACH, Germany—Shoe and sportswear giant Adidas A.G. is introducing a new way for its customers to do running repeats, showing off what it says is the first 100 percent recyclable running shoe.
While sports footwear typically include complex material mixes and component glueing, resulting in a shoe which can only be downcycled, Adidas says its new Futurecraft.Loop shoe is a designed-for-recycling product using thermoplastic polyurethane that can be washed, ground to pellets and fully put back into a new shoe.
"Taking plastic waste out of the system is the first step, but we can't stop there," Eric Liedtke, executive board member for Adidas said in a news release about the shoe. "What happens to your shoes after you've worn them out? You throw them away, except there is no 'away.'"
Because most shoes are made of a variety of materials and also use glues, it is difficult to fully recycle them, and what is available to be recycled end up being used in less valuable items such as water bottles or tote bags, Adidas noted.
Adidas also has used recycled materials in shoes in the past. Since 2015, working with Parley for the Oceans, the company has produced shoes using an upper made solely with plastics reclaimed from marine debris, abandoned nets and waste on beaches.