Over 50% of Adidas Shoes Polyester Will Be Recycled In 2020, Promises Sportswear Giant

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Unveiling their sustainability plans, global sportswear and footwear brand Adidas has announced that more than half of the polyester used in Adidas products will come from recycled materials and plastic waste. The brand will take this further in the next couple of years, pledging that they will be using only recycled polyester to make their shoes from 2024 onwards. This milestone comes as mainstream brands across the board are stepping up their approach to sustainability to rein in the environmentally-conscious consumer market. 

This 2020, the second largest multinational sports apparel and shoe brand Adidas will be using more recycled plastic waste as a material for their products. In an announcement, the brand pledged that more than half of the polyester in their products in 2020 will come from polyester made from recycled plastic waste, and that this number will be upped to 100% from 2024 onwards. In addition, the company estimates that around 15 to 20 million pairs of shoes will be made with plastic waste collected from beaches and coastal regions this year, a jump from the 11 million plastic waste shoes they created in 2019. 

Adidas Futurecraft Loop sneakers (Source: Adidas)

Other sustainability initiatives are in the pipeline. Adidas are planning to launch a new shoe dubbed the “Futurecraft Loop” in 2021, which is made from a single recyclable material from sole to laces, and is fused together without need for glue. This will make the shoes, when they finally reach the end of their lifespan, much easier to recycle and upcycle. After an initial test phase with 200 athletes, the shoes are now undergoing further development before release. 

The brand has also partnered up with Stella McCartney to create biodegradable tennis dresses that are made out of cellulose and yam-based yeast bio-fabric, which were recently used in the prestigious Wimbledon tournament last year. This year, Adidas hopes to be rolling out more products using the same renewable bio-materials in their consumer apparel products, in a bid to minimise the impact that sportswear fashion leaves behind on our planet. 

Adidas’ sustainability campaign for 2020 comes after their 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. 

Professional tennis player Angelique Kerber wearing Stella McCartney x Adidas tennis dress made from bio-fabrics (Source: Stella McCartney / Adidas)

This comes at a time when more consumers are becoming aware about the impact of fashion, whether it is fast fashion, luxury labels or sportswear brands. Altogether, the entire fashion industry is accountable for over 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, with increasing demand driving this figure to a predicted 24% of the carbon budget by 2050. The production of synthetic textiles in particular uses up colossal amounts of oil, and most manufacturing involves the use of toxic dyes and bleaches that pollutes waterways and degrades topsoil. On top of all these environmental concerns, deadstock, offcuts and end-of-life clothing are left to rot in landfills, causing an entire truckload of textile waste being landfilled every single second.

Lead image courtesy of Adidas.


  • 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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