Adidas and Allbirds have launched all-green sneakers that have been designed with fewer carbon emissions than a regular meal at McDonald’s, proving sustainability is possible with collaboration.
We all need running shoes. Running and walking are sustainable modes of transportation that not only save the planet but also our health. But unfortunately, our running shoes do impact the environment. For example, Nike footwear products can have a carbon footprint of about 7.33 kg (CO2e/unit). If you want to invest in shoes that offer comfort and functionality without harming the environment, then Adidas and Allbirds have a solution for you.
The new all-green sneakers, FUTURECRAFT FOOTPRINT, is by far the most sustainable product of the brands with less than 3kg of carbon footprint. The footwear industry emits more than 700 million metric tons of CO2 annually. Adidas and Allbird’s partnership for the new shoes will likely lessen that burden of carbon emissions if not eradicate it completely.
The collaboration was announced back in May 2020 to accelerate the sustainability efforts. Now, after a year, the brands have offered their very first sneaker, the Adidas X Allbirds, which may make both brands much closer to their sustainability goal of zero carbon footprint.
“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, 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 achieve. The results are an exciting step forward, and hopefully, an example for others to follow,” Tim Brown, co-founder and CEO at Allbirds said in an interview explaining the importance of this partnership.
The sneaker includes Adidas’ performance cushioning technologies and Allbirds’ sugarcane SweetFoam material. The upper portion of the shoe, the fabric top, is made from recycled Prime Green Polyester (70%) and natural Tencel (30%). The latter is the material made out of the wood pulp used in Allbirds Tree Line. All the materials used for the shoe are undyed, reducing emissions even further. The color of the shoes is pure white, which gives off an industrial vibe. But according to Jad Finck, the head of sustainability operations at Allbirds, the purification processes remove the natural color of the material, leaving it all white which looks industrial but is actually 100% natural.
Upon closer inspection, you will notice that the shoes have tiny parts that have been brought together rather than one seamless sheet of fabric. Generally, a clean design is easy to produce, but it leaves fabric cut-offs that lead to fabric waste. Nike’s Hippie Line dealt with the problem by incorporating leftover fabric from one shoe into another. Adidas and Allbirds used a jigsaw puzzle design to reduce the fabric waste to zero. In addition to reducing waste, the stitches on the outside reduce the overall weight of the shoes.
For those of you looking to get your hands on the sneakers may have to wait till summer 2022. The brands plan on dropping a limited series of the sneakers in winter 2021. The wider release will happen next year.