Adidas Turns Two Of Its Most Iconic Sneaker Designs Vegan

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Global sportswear and sneaker giant Adidas is veganising its most iconic Adidas original designs. It has revamped two classic models, the Samba and the Continental 80, and both shoes are now completely animal-free and contains sustainable and recycled materials. The move is a part of the sportswear industry’s gradual shift towards plant-based and eco-friendly products as consumers become more aware of environmental and ethical concerns. 

Adidas’ two new sneakers are a part of its “Our Icons Go Vegan” range, an initiative to veganise some of its most popular designs over the years. Animal-free versions of the Samba and Continental 80, both iconic designs from the 1980s, were launched on June 9 and are retailing for US$80. 

“The shoe that once found its rhythm in the packed fitness studios of the ‘80s makes some new moves today,” Adidas described the new vegan style, which ditches leather for a PU-coated recycled polyester upper, following on from the company’s promise in January that it will use at least 50% recycled materials and plastic waste in its products manufactured in 2020 onwards. 

Vegan Samba shoe (Source: Adidas)

“These vegan Adidas shoes completely eliminate the use of animal products. So swap out the bold colors of the ‘80s and exchange them for a brighter future.”

In addition to swapping out leather, the vegan Continental 80 will additionally feature an eco-friendly algae-based EVA foam in its midsole. According to the company, the algae used in each pair of its shoes has helped to clean an estimated 30 litres of polluted lake water. 

Both shoes showcase an added detail – a “Adidas Original Vegan” stamp on the back heel to help customers differentiate between the 100% animal-free versions and the original leather sneakers. 

This isn’t the first time Adidas has created vegan versions of its best-sellers. It previously partnered with vegetarian designer Stella McCartney in 2018 to transform the brand’s much-loved Stan Smith shoes into a leather and suede-free version suitable for vegans. 

Vegan Continental 80 shoe (Source: Adidas)

It comes as a time when mainstream sportswear companies are trying to keep up with the conscious consumerism trend, foraying into plant-based and sustainable product offerings. Most recently, Adidas partnered with eco footwear darling Allbirds to develop the “lowest-ever carbon footprint sports performance shoe” that is also suitable for herbivores. 

Adidas’ 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. 

Rival company Nike, has also hopped on the sustainability and vegan bandwagon and unveiled their new “Space Hippie” sneaker collection, featuring a range of plant-based sneakers made using recycled waste, including plastic bottles and textile factory waste such as t-shirts and yarn scraps. 

All images 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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