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Adidas and Parley for the Oceans present first high-performance sportswear from ocean waste

When adidas announced its collaboration with Parley for the Oceans, an organization raising awareness of ocean pollution of which the sportswear brand is a founding member, the likelihood of actual products hitting the market anytime soon seemed remote. adidas, however, apparently had no such doubts – and has been proved absolutely right.

Karen Laird

November 11, 2016

3 Min Read
Adidas and Parley for the Oceans present first high-performance sportswear from ocean waste

The collaboration between adidas and Parley for the Oceans was first announced last year and at that time involved the creation of a partially 3D-printed sports shoe made from up-cycled marine plastic waste. The project, which was highly successful in drawing public attention to the problem of marine litter and its effect on marine health, was soon followed by the release in June of 50 pairs of limited edition shoes called the Adidas x Parley made from Parley Ocean Plastic derived from plastic polluting the marine environment. The sports shoes were awarded to the winners of the video contest organized by Parley for the Oceans to recruit additional Parley ‘ambassadors’.

Adidas, however, had no intention of stopping there. Together with partner Parley, the company has now taken a big step with the presentation on November 4 of the first high performance sports products made from Parley Ocean Plastic: the UltraBOOST Uncaged Parley, the first mass-production running shoe created using Parley Ocean Plastic; and soccer jerseys for the European top clubs Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.

“At this point, it’s no longer just about raising awareness,” said Parley for the Oceans founder Cyrill Gutsch. It’s about taking action and implementing strategies that can end the cycle of plastic pollution for good.”

Both products are made from up-cycled marine plastic waste recovered via Parley interception and clean-up operations in coastal areas of the Maldives, with the goal of driving global awareness and comprehensive solutions to the threat of ocean plastic pollution.

The UltraBOOST Uncaged Parley, features a knitted upper created with 95 percent Ocean Plastic and 5 percent recycled polyester. The laces, heel cap base material, heel webbing, heel lining and the sock-liner cover are made of recycled materials. Its design is inspired by ocean waves. And although the Parley shoe will feature materials atypical to other iterations of the currently unidentified model shoe, its performance attributes will be unaffected. Around 7,000 pairs will be sold at stores and online for US $220 starting in mid-November, but adidas has committed to creating one million pairs of UltraBOOST made with Parley Ocean Plastic by end of 2017.

Bayern Munich wore the adidas x Parley soccer jerseys in the match played on Saturday, November 5; Real Madrid will don the uniform when it plays Real Sporting de Gijón on Saturday, November 26. Both kits, the first made completely from materials found in the ocean, will feature the club logo and famed three adidas stripes. To reflect the jersey’s unique story and parley’s commitment to the oceans, both club and sponsors agreed not to have the logo visible in order to make the adidas shirt as sustainable as possible. The Parley soccer jerseys for Bayern Munich and Real Madrid will soon be available on adidas.com/parley and in selected stores, and will sell for $90 (men) and $70 (boys) each.

“This represents another step on the journey of Adidas and Parley for the Oceans,” said Eric Liedtke, Adidas’ group executive board member responsible for Global Brands.

“We have not only managed to make footwear from recycled ocean plastic, but have also created the first jersey coming 100% out of the ocean.

“Our ultimate ambition is to eliminate virgin plastic from our supply chain,” he continued.

The 2017 target means that at least 11 million bottles retrieved from coastal areas by the Parley Global Clean-up Network will be recycled and repurposed into elite performance sportswear. This plan forms part of the brand’s larger commitment to increase the use of sustainable materials in its products and make eco-innovation the new industry standard through implementation of the Parley A.I.R. Strategy (avoid, intercept, redesign), which aims to end the cycle of marine plastic pollution long-term.

“Eco-innovation is an open playing field. With the release of the Ocean Plastic jerseys and UltraBOOST Uncaged adidas x Parley shoes, we’re inviting every consumer, player, team and fan to own their impact under Parley A.I.R. and define their role within the movement,” said Gutsch.

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