Adidas and Allbirds Will Launch the ‘World’s Most Sustainable Shoe’
Adidas and Allbirds are working on a sustainable sports shoe.
Staff Writer | Bristol, United Kingdom | Contactable via: liam@livekindly.com

Liam writes about environmental and social sustainability, and the protection of animals. He has a BA Hons in English Literature and Film and also writes for Sustainable Business Magazine. Liam is interested in intersectional politics and DIY music.

Adidas and Allbirds are teaming up to design and produce the “world’s most sustainable shoe.”

Allbirds—a six-year-old footwear brand based in San Fransico—will collaborate with global sporting giant Adidas to design a new, sustainable shoe. The brands aim to use innovative manufacturing and supply chain processes to create a low-impact, high-performance sneaker.

“Our brands don’t want to just participate in the sustainability conversation, we want to continue being catalysts and creators of substantial improvement,” said James Carnes, VP of Adidas Brand Strategy.

Adidas is known for its stringent performance standards for its athletic shoes while Allbirds uses a unique life cycle assessment tool to measure its end-to-end carbon emissions. When combined, the companies’ respective production methods will accurately measure both the impact and performance of their new sports shoe.

“The recent progress that our brands have made in the name of sustainable innovation has created the perfect momentum for this partnership to influence industry practices forever,” Carnes added.

An Allbirds representative told LIVEKINDLY in an email that the project will focus on creating a commercially viable, sustainable sneaker. The brands aim to reduce impact across every element of the supply chain. This includes prioritizing manufacturing facilities with natural, renewable energy, and using sustainable materials.

“There is an urgent need to reduce our global carbon number, and this mission is bigger than just allbirds or adidas,” said Tim Brown, co-CEO of Allbirds.

“Whether we realize it or not this is a race that we are all running together as a planet,” he continued. “And it is one that trumps the day-to-day competition of individual companies.”

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Sustainable Shoes

While Adidas and Allbirds can’t confirm product details at this point, the project aims to use sustainable and alternative materials. While both companies use animal products, many brands have adopted plant-based and recycled materials to maximize sustainability.

In 2018 and 2019, Adidas partnered with Stella McCartney to release vegan Stan Smiths. Adidas also released Beastie Boys skate shoes made with vegan leather, and has experimented with alternative materials such as ocean plastic in high-performance running shoes.

The vegan Adidas Futurecraft.LOOP launched in April last year and featured a 100 percent recyclable design. The brand has committed to reducing its “virgin plastic” usage in its products and offices. Adidas aims to exclusively use recycled plastic in its products by 2024.

The typical carbon footprint for a pair of synthetic running shoes produces between 11.3kg and 16.7kg of CO2. For their new project, Adidas and Allbirds aim to create a sports shoe with a minimal, 2kg carbon footprint.