Adidas and footwear newcomer Allbirds say they'll join forces to create a shoe with almost no footprint ... at least no carbon footprint.
The German athletic gear giant and Allbirds, a direct-to-consumer shoe brand that started six years ago, said May 28 they would work together to develop a sports shoe.
The companies said they will innovate their manufacturing, materials and supply chain processes. In a release disclosing the collaboration, the companies said that the footwear industry annually produces 700 million metric tons of carbon dioxide—a figure Allbirds and Adidas hope to diminish with lessons from their new project.
The shoe will carry both the Allbirds and Adidas logos, an Allbirds spokeswoman said, but it's not yet clear what it will look like. She noted that both brands have a year to create the product.
"Very excited to share that we're breaking the traditional rules of collaboration and teaming up with Adidas to redefine the playbook on sustainability by co-creating a performance shoe with the lowest carbon emissions, ever," Julie Channing, vice president of marketing at Allbirds, wrote on LinkedIn.
Adidas already has launched efforts to make sports shoes that contain more recycled material and are easier to recycle.
In 2019, it introduced a limited number of running shoes made fully out of polyurethane. In its Futurecraft.Loop project, it then collected those shoes after months of wear and tear and recycled them into pellets used in new shoes.
The brands say the new shoe will meet Adidas' performance standards and its carbon footprint will be measured against both Allbirds' and Adidas' environmental rubrics.
"There is an urgent need to reduce our global carbon number, and this mission is bigger than just Allbirds or Adidas," Tim Brown, co-CEO of Allbirds, said in a statement.
With many consumers still housebound due to COVID-19, retail sales of footwear have been on the decline—though many shoppers have been purchasing slippers, according to research firm NPD Group. Overall, U.S. footwear sales in April fell 56 percent to $1.2 billion compared with the year-earlier period. Performance footwear sales were down 50 percent.