adidas Takes One More Step Towards Sustainability

Image: © adidas Group (photographer: Hannah Hlavacek)


The future of footwear has never been so fascinating.

At Friday’s Biofabrication summit in New York, adidas revealed their latest innovation on a 27 year journey to a completely sustainable business model: a synthetic-silk shoe named the Futurecraft Biofabric.

© adidas Group (photographer: Hannah Hlavacek)

The design is just as astounding as the name. The Biosteel fibre is 15% lighter than conventional synthetic fibres, yet adidas states it has “the potential to be the strongest full natural material available”.

They’re not embellishing either. The material – its structure made possible thanks to genetically engineered E. coli developed by German company AMSilk – is three times tougher than Kevlar, the fibre used in bulletproof vests, and five times stronger.

A limited quantity of the shoes will be made available next year. “It will be small. It will be limited quantities. It will be a higher price because it’s the first time we’re doing it. But we wanted to start the process of scaling up and making it available”, said James Carnes, adidas’s Vice-President of Global Brand Strategy, to Quartz. From there, the company will look to expand the fibre’s use to develop a whole range of shoes.

The Futurecraft Biofabrics aren’t the only futuristic concepts announced by adidas in 2016. Earlier this year, they revealed UltraBOOST Uncaged, a stylish high-performance shoe made entirely of plastic waste removed from the ocean. Along with their partners at Parley for the Oceans, adidas have vowed to release one million pairs of the shoes in 2017. 50 pairs were given away as part of a 2016 Instagram competition, in which participants committed to action designed to preserve marine environments.

UltraBOOST, made entirely out of plastics pulled from the ocean.
UltraBOOST, made entirely out of plastics pulled from the ocean.

adidas hope that these new materials will allow them to create an “infinite loop” of production, eradicating the need for virgin resources altogether.

Join the 8 Percent.

Join the group that everyone's talking about! Just enter your name and email to receive a weekly update on what's new in the elite world of the 8 Percenters, as well as special offers, invitations and free downloads.