image: adidas

image: adidas

Adidas and Parley for the Oceans, an organization dedicated to reducing plastic waste in oceans, have collaborated to create a 3D-printed shoe made out of recycled ocean plastic. Originally introduced in December 2015 as a prototype to demonstrate how the industry can “rethink design and help stop ocean plastic pollution,” adidas has recently revealed that it will make the sneaker available for sale, along with a range of ocean plastic footwear “sometime this year.”

The prototype itself has an “upper” made of ocean plastic and a 3D-printed midsole of recycled polyester and gillnets, a type of fishing net. Adidas has also pledged to take other steps to reduce plastic pollution like phasing out the use of plastic bags in its retail stores. 

The German sportswear giant’s plan to release the 3D-printed sneaker is a significant step towards the mass-marketization of tech fashion. While 3D-printing and other high tech processed are being used by an array of high fashion design brands, such as Iris Van Herpen and United Nude, adidas would be one of the first to offer goods that embody such techniques on an relatively accessible level.

Each pair uses an average of 11 plastic bottles, which go into the Primeknit portion of the shoe and not in the entirety of it. But Adidas is planning to use renewable materials in other parts of the shoes.

A limited edition ocean plastic waste sneaker was released last year by the same partnership, with three new running shoes made with Parley Ocean Plastic. That is three shoes closer to the target of 1 million pairs of UltraBoost sneakers using ocean plastic by the end of 2017.