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Adidas Unveils Biodegradable Sneakers

Adidas took the stage at the Biofabricate Conference in New York City Thursday to reveal its latest innovation—biodegradable shoes.

The company claims to have made the world’s first performance shoe using Biosteel fiber—a 100 percent biodegradable replication of natural silk developed by the German biotech company AMSilk.

The material offers a unique combination of properties that are crucial in performance. Th shoes are 15 percent lighter in weight than conventional synthetic fibers, and Adidas claims the material has the potential to be the strongest fully natural material available on the market.

Part of Adidas’ innovative Futurecraft line, the Biofabric sneaker is yet another step the German company is taking towards a more sustainable future, including its recently-launched collaboration with Parley for the Oceans, which utilizes recycled ocean plastic.

© adidas Group (photographer: Hannah Hlavacek)
© adidas Group (photographer: Hannah Hlavacek)

James Carnes, Adidas VP of strategy creation, said the Futurecraft Biofabric is part of Adidas’ goal of not just closing the loop, but in his words, creating an “infinite loop.”

“This concept represents premium innovation. By using Biosteel fiber in our products, we have achieved an unrivaled level of sustainability,” he said. “We are moving beyond closed loop and into an infinite loop—or even no loop at all. This is a pioneering stride forward beyond sustainability into a new territory of bionic innovation.”

Currently just a prototype, the Adidas Futurecraft Biofabric is expected to be released sometime in 2017, and will be produced at the company’s Speedfactories in Germany in the U.S. No word on pricing yet, but expect a similar roll out to the Parley shoes, which were first released in limited quantities before a wider rollout.