Today marks the introduction of Adidas’ Stan Smith Mylo, its first-ever shoe made from mushroom leather.
The new vegan sneaker makes use of Mylo, a mushroom-derived material developed by biotechnology company Bolt Threads. The sustainable material was used for the outer upper, perforated three stripes, heel tab overlay, and signature branding. The midsole is made from natural rubber. According to the Adidas website, the launch is part of the global brand’s efforts to reduce plastic waste.
Mylo is made from mycelium, the fibrous root-like structure of fungi that weave through the soil and allow mushrooms to communicate. The leather-like material can be grown in less than two weeks’ time in a controlled lab environment. It forms a sheet, which can then be finished in a variety of colors and textures, resulting in a material that is remarkably similar to cowhide leather.
Is Mushroom Leather the Future?
The fashion industry is increasingly concerned with its environmental footprint, and several brands are working to launch more sustainable options.
Adidas chose Stan Smith for its first mushroom leather shoe because it is one of the brand’s most iconic franchises. This “proof of concept” of the material’s potential will allow the brand to roll out additional Mylo products.
Adidas is also an investor in Bolt Threads, along with Stella McCartney and Kering, parent company to Gucci, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, and other luxury fashion brands. Last month, Stella McCartney unveiled a vegan leather bustier and balloon leg trousers made with Mylo.
Dan Widmaier, CEO of Bolt Threads, said at the time that the consortium of investors will help the company scale up and further the development of new materials. “We are thrilled to be working with partners who recognize that we are in a race to develop sustainable solutions to conventional technologies,” he said.
Bolt Threads is not the only company that is creating mushroom-based leather. Later this year, French fashion house Hermès is launching a bag made with Sylvania. The amber-hued vegan leather is developed by California-based biomaterials startup MycoWorks.
In addition to mycelium, other renewable resources can be used to create a more sustainable version of leather. Fossil and the Karl Lagerfeld brand both recently launched vegan bags made from cactus leather.