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Adidas unveils low-carbon shoe collaboration with Allbirds

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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courtesy of Adidas/Allbirds

Rival sportswear brands Adidas and Allbirds have unveiled the first product from their collaboration, Futurecraft.Footprint - a low carbon running shoe.

The sportswear companies have partnered up and shared proprietary technologies and material innovations, as part of both companies goals to reimagine a lower-emission design process and make a performance running shoe with no carbon footprint.

This has resulted in the Futurecraft.Footprint prototype, a running shoe with a carbon footprint of 2.94 kilograms CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent emissions) per pair and created with 63 percent less emissions. In comparisons, a comparable running shoe the Adizero RC3 has a carbon footprint of 7.86 kilograms CO2e.

Brian Grevy, executive board member global brands at Adidas, said in a statement: “Our partnership with Allbirds is a beacon of what can happen when competing brands from the same industry see the possibilities in coming together to design.

“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.”

courtesy of Adidas/Allbirds

Allbirds collaborates with Adidas to create a running shoe with 2.94 kilograms CO2e

The shoe itself highlights not only both brand’s opening up their materials, supply chains and innovations to each other but also two of their proprietary technologies “coming together and working in synergy”. The Futurecraft.Footprint is based on Adidas’ popular Lightstrike midsole, which was reimagined with Allbirds’ sugarcane-based SweetFoam, offering a low-carbon natural component.

In addition, the newly developed upper material is made with 70 percent recycled polyester and 30 percent natural Tencel, a material made from wood pulp, for a smooth, lightweight upper that both companies state “lives up to performance expectations” with a highly reduced carbon impact.

Commenting on the design, Jamie McLellan, head of design at Allbirds said: “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.”

Florence Rohart, senior footwear designer at Adidas, added: “With this project, less really was more. To keep minimalist not only in materials but also in construction, we went to extremes and left only what we really needed on the shoe to keep the performance properties.”

courtesy of Adidas/Allbirds

The creation of the low-carbon shoe was achieved in under 12 months, with Allbirds and Adidas counterparts across product design, material innovation, sustainability and supply chain studying every component and all aspects of the process with an analytical methodology.

The teams collaborated digitally from development to delivery, working across multiple time zones on opposite sides of the world to reimagined materials, manufacturing techniques and even packaging to reach the lowest possible footprint, whilst ensuring that the low-carbon shoe didn’t “compromising on performance”.

Tim Brown, co-founder and co-chief executive at Allbirds, said: “We believe that the challenge of solving climate change is the problem of our generation and solving it will not be done alone. We need to find new business models, new innovations and new ways of working together. Our partnership with Adidas is an example of that.

“Over the past year, our two teams have raced as one to create a shoe as close to zero carbon emissions as we could possibly achieve. The results are an exciting step forward, and hopefully, an example for others to follow.”

Futurecraft.Footprint will see an initial launch in May with 100 pairs to be raffled to members of Adidas’s Creators Club. A further 10,000 pairs will be available for autumn/winter 2021, added both brands, ahead of a wider release in spring/summer 2022. The price of the running shoe has not been announced.

courtesy of Adidas/Allbirds

courtesy of Adidas/Allbirds

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