Adidas & Allbirds Partner To Develop ‘Lowest Ever Carbon Footprint’ Sports Shoe

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Global sportswear giant Adidas and sustainable shoe brand Allbirds are now collaborating to develop a new performance shoe with the lowest carbon footprint ever recorded. In the process, the two companies share sustainable innovations and knowledge. The major partnership comes as mainstream brands across the board are looking to shine their eco-credentials in line with the conscious consumerism trend. 

Adidas and Allbirds are working together to create the lowest ever carbon footprint recorded for a sport performance shoe. The project, which has been 9 months in the works, will see the two brands sharing their sustainability supply chains, manufacturing and design innovations as well as explore new renewable material resources. 

This move is uncommon for rival businesses in the same market, and the two company hopes that this will set a “new industry standard” for more brands to help reduce the 700 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide the footwear industry emits each year

“Our brands don’t want to just participate in the sustainability conversation, we want to continue being catalysts and creators of substantial improvement,” said vice president of brand strategy at Adidas, James Carnes, in a statement. 

Source: Allbirds

Tim Brown, the co-CEO of Allbirds, added that “this is a race that we are all running together as a planet and it is one that trumps the day-to-day competition of individual companies.”

“I am hopeful that this partnership will be an example for others to follow as we pursue a more sustainable, net zero carbon future.”

Currently, the average running performance shoe has a carbon footprint of around 13.6 kilograms. 

To make the lowest ever carbon footprint shoe, Allbirds and Adidas will be exploring solutions across the entire value chain, from the choice of materials to the way the shoe is manufactured and even renewable energy transportation methods after the product can be shipped out. 

The shoe will have to undergo Allbird’s life cycle assessment tool to analyse its carbon footprint. Earlier last month, Allbirds announced that it will begin showing the carbon information of every single shoe in its sneaker collection online. 

Adidas and Allbirds will both separately commit to reduce their carbon footprint and plastic pollution. While Adidas has pledged to reduce its emissions by 30% and reach carbon neutrality by 2050, Allbirds has already achieved 100% carbon neutral status by offsetting all its remaining emissions. 

Source: Adidas

As a part of its sustainability strategy, Adidas revealed earlier this year that it will begin using at least 50% recycled materials and plastic waste for its products manufactured this year. They plan to take this figure further, pledging that they will only use recycled polyester to make their shoes from 2024 onwards. 

It came after its subsidiary brand, Reebok, made public the first completely plant-based performance running shoe last year. The vegan-friendly shoe, dubbed the “Forever Floatride GROW” does not require the use of petroleum plastics to manufacture, and instead uses 100% natural plant materials such as eucalyptus, natural rubber and algae foam. 

Adidas’ main rival, Nike, has also hopped on the sustainability bandwagon and unveiled their new “Space Hippie” sneaker collection, featuring a range of vegan-friendly sneakers made using recycled waste, including plastic bottles and textile factory waste such as t-shirts and yarn scraps. 

Lead image courtesy of Allbirds.


  • Sally Ho

    Sally Ho is Green Queen's former resident writer and lead reporter. Passionate about the environment, social issues and health, she is always looking into the latest climate stories in Hong Kong and beyond. A long-time vegan, she also hopes to promote healthy and plant-based lifestyle choices in Asia. Sally has a background in Politics and International Relations from her studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

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