adidas allbirds sustainable shoe
Adidas and Allbirds have teamed up to launch a sustainable performance running shoe. | Adidas

Adidas and Allbirds Release Low-Carbon Running Shoe

Adidas and Allbirds have teamed up to launch a sustainable performance running shoe.

Adidas and Allbirds have teamed up to launch a sustainable performance running shoe.

The eco-friendly kicks, named Futurecraft.Footprint, have a carbon footprint of just under 3 kilograms of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions a pair. To put this in perspective: According to a 2013 Massachusetts Institute of Technology study, the average pair of running shoes generates 30 pounds of CO2 emissions. This equates to keeping a 100-watt light bulb turned on for an entire week. 

The new low-impact shoes, launching with a limited drop on December 15, are a testament to the power of brand collaboration. Allbirds and Adidas’ teams worked together for 12 months, sharing expertise across product design, material innovation, sustainability, manufacturing techniques, and packaging to create the new low-impact design. 

The sustainable shoe features an upper made with 77 percent recycled polyester and 23 percent Tencel, a material made from wood pulp. They also feature Allbirds’ proprietary technology, SweetFoam—a sugarcane-based midsole, and the outsole is made with 10 percent recycled rubber. 

“Both the upper and the outside construction are inspired by the Tangram Principle, with all individual parts in their entirety achieving as little scrap as possible in production in order to reduce waste,” explained Jamie McLellan, Allbirds’ head of design, in a press release earlier this year. 

Adidas and Allbirds tackle sustainability

Brian Grevy, Executive Board Member Global Brands at Adidas, said the partnership, which started in 2020, is a great example of how innovative competing brands can be when they work together.

“By truly co-creating and providing each other with open access to knowledge and resources—such as Allbirds’ knowledge of carbon calculation and experience with natural materials, and Adidas’ capabilities in manufacturing and performance footwear—this is a call-to-action for other brands, and a milestone in the sports industry achieving carbon neutrality,” he explained.

The Futurecraft.Footprint shoe is part of an overall sustainability push from Adidas. In April, the company launched recycling vending machines at the brand’s flagship stores in New York and Paris, allowing customers to pay for a pair of Stan Smith shoes using plastic bottles. And, as part of its End Plastic Waste initiative and to address its overall carbon footprint, the company has pledged to ditch virgin polyester by 2024. Also in April, Adidas introduced the Stan Smith Mylo. The vegan sneakers feature mushroom leather, sourced from biotechnology company Bolt Threads.

A limited drop of Futurecraft.Footprint is available from Adidas now, as well as on the Allbirds app. A larger release with four new colorways is planned for Spring 2022.