Adidas shoes are garbage

Adidas’ Parley ocean plastic collection

The UltraBoost sneaker from Adidas’ Parley ocean plastic collection


After the recent controversy with Coles supermarkets back flipping twice on providing single use plastic bags for free, here’s some good news stories on brands getting it right when it comes to the issue of sustainability.

Adidas has sold 1 million pairs of sneakers made from ocean trash

Adidas recently revealed it has sold more than one million pairs of sneakers made from ocean plastic. Developed in partnership with Parley as a limited collection, the shoes use a yarn that turns the ocean plastic into a polymer that can be used to construct knitted footwear. Each shoe uses an average of 11 plastic bottles per pair and incorporates recycled plastic into the shoe’s laces, heel webbing, heel lining, and sock liner covers.

Nike is turning its own trash into treasure

Nike, has started rethinking the materials it uses to make shoes, with 71 percent of footwear containing materials made from waste products from its own manufacturing process. The Nike Grind range is made from recycled sneakers, plastic bottles and manufacturing scraps from Nike’s factories. New material Flyleather, bonds together left over pieces of hide forming a new recycled leather fibre. This reduces waste in Nike’s own processes, and makes creating its traditional leather shoes more sustainable as well. Nike says it’s the company’s “lowest carbon-footprint leather material ever,” but still feels like perfect premium leather.

Sustainable footwear has many obvious benefits. It’s a recycling initiative which the brand can use to communicate its green eco-friendly efforts, as well as a way to cut down waste.

“Sustainable innovation is a catalyst for revolutionising the way we do business and an opportunity that’s been integrated across our business in policies, processes and products.We are innovating solutions that benefit athletes, the company and the world.”


Nike flyleather shoes
A shoe made from Nike’s Flyleather


Sneakers inspired by natural materials also sell 1 million pairs

The comfort-focused Allbirds, have created an entirely new category of sneakers inspired by natural materials, with an ongoing company mantra to ‘create better things in a better way’. Known for their sneakers made from wool, Allbirds also have collections made from eucalyptus fibre, which is Forest Stewardship Council certified, and a shoe sole made from sugarcane.

“The footwear industry often overlooks Mother Nature’s materials in favor of cheaper, synthetic alternatives. We think it’s time to change that.”



Allbirds tree fibre shoes

Allbirds shoes made with eucalyptus tree fibre

Hopefully this is an indication of how all companies will be making shoes in the future when the traditional petroleum-heavy methods become far too costly. It’s a glimpse at a sustainable future, where sneakers made from ocean plastic won’t just be limited to special collections.

Catherine Howarth
Senior Account Manager

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