In launching the exclusive third test of the Ultraboost DNA Loop, Adidas gave the shoe to 1,500 members of the brand’s Creators Club loyalty program for free and integrated the members into its sustainability micro-community. The goal of the community is to “co-create” the shoe in a true open source fashion that can help fine tune the footwear for the future.
The raffle took place during the seven-day Adidas Creators Club Week digital festival, which kicked off last week and showcased the company’s the largest-ever drop of exclusive shoes, with approximately 70 new designs.
Members will have the shoes for 21 weeks, and can give feedback and engage with the community via the Adidas app. When the shoes are returned to Adidas, they will be washed, ground to pellets and melted into material for components for a new pair of shoes, with less waste.
“We don’t think of Ultraboost DNA Loop as simply a high-performance running shoe, but as an experience where every owner plays a vital part,” said James Carnes, vice president of brand strategy at Adidas. “To make this a success we need to understand the human element—how people can be encouraged to return the shoes to be recycled—because while we control the creation, we can only influence what happens when the shoes leave us. Ultraboost DNA Loop is not just a shoe, it’s a movement and we want our community of creators to help us define a better future where products are ‘Made to be Remade.’”
The “Made to be Remade” project tackles the problem of plastic waste, using recycled materials and no glue to create closed loop, circular manufacturing models, where raw materials can be repurposed again and again.
The athleticwear and footwear brand doesn’t want just anybody to test out its shoes though; it is looking for those that share its beliefs. Creators Club members needed to prove their sustainability credentials by completing a quiz.
Adidas’ partnership with Parley by the Oceans in 2015 signaled its seriousness about sustainability and circularity as the initiative integrated materials made of ocean plastic waste into its product offerings. This gave birth to various iterations of sustainable footwear like the Adidas by Stella McCartney Parley Ultraboost X and the Terrex Parley shoe, among others.
The Ultraboost DNA Loop follows in those footsteps, first introduced behind the scenes in April of last year when 200 creators around the world were involved in the first closed trial process of the brand’s Gen 1 running shoe. The creators tested and wore the shoes before returning them to Adidas, all while providing feedback on the design and process.
In November, the Gen 2 version of the Ultraboost DNA Loop shoes were produced and included recycled thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) from the Gen 1 pairs. Again, the 200 creators tested the shoes to provide feedback that could help the brand take the concept to a wider audience.
This process mimics the launch and progression of the Futurecraft.Loop, which also debuted in April last year. The upcycled 100-percent recyclable sneaker was composed entirely of TPU, which is spun to yarn, knitted, molded and clean-fused to a Boost midsole. The shoe was able to be broken down entirely for repurposing into the next generation of Loop products.
Like the Ultraboost DNA Loop, the Futurecraft.Loop was sent to a test group of 200 creators before fully breaking them down upon return. The Gen 2 version of Futurecraft.Loop also was sent out to creators in November. Its official commercial launch is scheduled for Spring/Summer 2021.
Adidas’ Futurecraft team is also developing an innovative sneaker concept for short-distance runners, the Futurecraft.Strung. Adidas refers to the concept as its first “Coded” product, leveraging data to suit a specific athletic profile with minimal materials, which could mean other styles will also be created in the future.