Adidas to Create Eco-Sneakers Woven From Recycled Ocean Garbage

To help raise awareness about ocean pollution, Adidas has joined with Parley For The Oceans to create eco-sneakers from ocean trash. The issue is one of growing concern for the future sustainability of marine life globally.

The United Nations Environment Programme estimated in 2006 that every square mile of ocean contains 46,000 pieces of floating plastic.  Plastic debris already causes the deaths of more than a million seabirds every year, as well as more than 100,000 marine mammals. There are now close to 500 dead zones covering more than 245,000 km² globally, equivalent to the surface of the United Kingdom.*

The new collaborative project was announced at a Parley for the Oceans event hosted by the United Nations last week. Adidas’ Eric Liedtke and Parley for the Oceans founder Cyrill Gutsch introduced the prototype shoe, with an upper made entirely from recycled ocean waste and illegal deep-sea gillnets.

The illegal gill nets were dredged up by the nonprofit environmental advocate Sea Shepherd, after tracking an illegal poaching vessel for almost four months, finally catching it off the coast of West Africa.

“It’s a fishing net that was spanning the bottom of the sea like a wall, and killing pretty much every fish passing by,” Cyrill Gutsch, founder of Parley for the Oceans, speaking to Fast Co Exist, said. “They confiscated this net, and we’re bringing it back to life.”

The prototype shoe shows the direction adidas and Parley for the Oceans are taking, ahead of consumer-ready ocean plastic products to be revealed later this year.

Said Cyrill Gutsch:

“At Parley for the Oceans, we want to establish the oceans as a fundamental part of the debate around climate change. Our objective is to boost public awareness and to inspire new collaborations that can contribute to protect and preserve the oceans. We are extremely proud that adidas is joining us in this mission and is putting its creative force behind this partnership to show that it is possible to turn ocean plastic into something cool”.


*Facts and figures on marine pollution from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.