Adidas sold 1 million pairs of UltraBoost sneakers made out of recycled plastic from the ocean in 2017.
The sneaker giant’s CEO Kasper Rorsted revealed the news on CNBC Wednesday, the same day it upgraded its 2020 profitability target.
Adidas launched the shoe in November 2016 in partnership with environmental advocate Parley for the Oceans. The shoes are made from 95 percent ocean plastic and 5 percent recycled polyester.
Last year, Adidas launched three new versions of the sustainable shoe, rolling out 1 million pairs into the market. The partnership with Parley has been part of the company’s effort to use more environmentally friendly materials in its products. Adding to its eco efforts, Adidas has also been focused on creating the footwear of the future—products that are made more efficiently, with greater performance capabilities and a cleaner production process.
In that vein, Adidas has big plans for 3-D printed footwear. Adidas has been working with molecular science and 3-D manufacturing firm Carbon Inc., to develop its Futurecraft 4D sneaker, which uses Carbon’s 3-D midsole to improve the shoes’ performance. With Carbon’s midsole, Adidas was able to develop a 3-D printed element for the shoe, which, instead of breaking down after 30,000 cycle tests, could withstand the 100,000 that traditional footwear materials do.
Adidas’ partnership with Carbon is an exclusive one, and the company has purchased an equity share in Carbon, which will enable its goal of bringing customization to the market on a much bigger scale.
“We will, this year, sell 100,000 completely printed 3-D shoes,” Rorsted told the publication. “That’s where we invest money, in companies that have a technology that we need or companies that have materials that are unique, like Parley for the Oceans…”