- Adidas and Parley for the Oceans — an organization that encourages marine pollution reduction — unveiled a prototype of their new sustainable sneaker made of 95% plastic debris, dubbed UltraBoost Uncaged Parley.
- Adidas announced in a statement that it intends to make one million pairs of the shoes in an effort to "eliminate virgin plastic from [its] supply chain."
- 7,000 pairs of the shoes will hit stores in mid-November. The sporting goods company also created soccer jerseys from the reclaimed plastic for teams Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.
These shoes have been teased by the media for over a year, so it is exciting to see a retailer finally put its money where its mouth is to try to increase waste diversion efforts. Other retailers like H&M, Levi Strauss and Wal-Mart have made significant strides in recognizing the need for recycling and reuse across its supply chain, which has in-turn made consumers more aware of the inevitable shift to sustainable products across many retail companies.
While Adidas has good intentions to offer a sustainable sneaker to consumers and help close the loop of plastic use, the expensive price tag on the sneakers presents an obstacle for many shoppers. Adidas will sell its UltraBoost shoes in stores and online for $220, according to Quartz — a steep ask for shoppers who are looking to be sustainable. As retailers begin to utilize reclaimed materials in their products, it will be important for them to keep the target purchaser in mind and make such items affordable so their presence in today's market is not overlooked.
It will also be important for the waste industry to continue to encourage retail chains to strive for the reduction of virgin materials from supply chains, as retailers are a large part of the equation to drive the circular economy. According to a Nielsen study, sustainable products have led to an average of a 4% increase in sales across a sample of 1,300 brands, proving that it is a good business move to start investing in sustainable goods.