Adidas sneakerheads will soon be able to snag a pair of vegan leather shoes made from a rather unique material: fungi.
The European sportswear manufacturer is developing a new, “purely biological” leather material made from mycelium (the thin, root-like structures of mushrooms).
Mycelium’s moisture-absorbing, non-toxic, and waterproof properties make it a favorable textile. It’s also fire-resistant and insulates fairly well, making it a suitable building material.
Vegan Kicks by Adidas
The fungi-based leather shoes won’t be Adidas’s first pair of vegan kicks.
In 2020, the shoe giant launched vegan versions of several of its iconic shoes. These include the Samba, Continental 80, Sleek, and Superstar sneakers.
Adidas also released vegan Stan Smith trainers. The brand teamed up with Stella McCartney to create the eco-friendly shoes, which resemble the original design.
In 2019, the shoe brand teamed up with Parley for the Oceans—an organization that raises awareness about ocean pollution—to create Terrex Two Parley. The vegan shoe is made from ocean plastic.
Adidas also committed to animal rights group Vier Pfoten that it would ban fur from its products.
Adidas’s Sustainability Commitment
The shoe company’s expanding vegan range is part of its commitment to be more sustainable and eliminate plastic waste. Adidas also aims to achieve global climate neutrality by 2050.
“For Adidas, sustainability means using less plastic and less animal material,” the company outlined in a press release.
According to the brand, starting in 2021, more than 60 percent of its products will be made with sustainable materials. In 2024, Adidas will shift to using only recycled polyester. Since 2018, it has been exclusively using sustainable cotton.
The company’s CEO, Kasper Rorsted, said sustainability is an “integral part of the Adidas business philosophy.”
“We have continued to invest in sustainability initiatives during the coronavirus pandemic and we will significantly expand our range of sustainable products in 2021,” he continued.
“We have worked with our suppliers to create the structures that make it possible to process recycled materials on a large scale. Not only does our commitment make Adidas more sustainable, but it also drives the development of the whole industry.”