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adidas, Parley Unveil First Performance Apparel, Footwear Made from Ocean Plastic

The new UltraBOOST Uncaged Parley running shoe. | Image credit: adidas

Today, sportswear leader adidas and environmental organization Parley for the Oceans unveiled the first football and running performance products made from upcycled marine plastic waste, recovered via Parley’s interception and cleanup operations in coastal areas of the Maldives. The partnership, first announced in April 2015, aims to drive global awareness and comprehensive solutions to the threat of plastic pollution in the oceans.

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

Click to enlarge. FC Bayern Munich player Xabi Alonso sporting the new all-red adidas x Parley FC Bayern München jersey. | Image credit: adidas

The first apparel to be produced under the partnership are jerseys for renowned football clubs Bayern Munich and Real Madrid. The adidas x Parley football jerseys will be worn when Bayern Munich faces TSG 1899 Hoffenheim on Saturday, November 5 and when Real Madrid plays Real Sporting de Gijón on Saturday, November 26. Created using Parley Ocean plastic and water-based environmentally-friendly prints, the all-red Bayern Munich and all-white Real Madrid kits feature the club logo, three stripes and sponsors’ logos in the same color as the kit for a unique look. Selected stores will have the Bayern Munich jerseys beginning today, and Real Madrid jerseys from Thursday, November 24, as well as through adidas.com/parley.

“I’m a child of the beaches of Spain, so I'm really happy to wear a shirt entirely made of recycled ocean waste. It’s a great opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of protecting the oceans,” said Bayern Munich pro Xabi Alonso.

The UltraBOOST Uncaged Parley running shoes are the first mass production footwear to be created using Parley Ocean Plastic. The design was inspired by ocean waves and differs from that of the concept shoe unveiled last year. The UltraBOOST Uncaged Parley runners feature  a knitted upper made from a mix of the ocean plastic (95 percent) and recycled polyester (5 percent). The rest of the upper – laces, heel cap base material, heel webbing, heel lining and the sock-liner cover – is also made of recycled materials. The first of the 7,000 pairs will be available for purchase from mid-November. Specific drop dates have not been released; those interested are invited to sign-up for updates.

“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,” Gutsch added.

“This represents another step on the journey of adidas and Parley for the Oceans. 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,” said Eric Liedtke, the adidas Group Executive Board member responsible for Global Brands.

“But we won’t stop there,” Liedtke continued. “We will make one million pairs of shoes using Parley Ocean Plastic in 2017 – and our ultimate ambition is to eliminate virgin plastic from our supply chain.”

adidas’ 2017 target will mean that at least eleven 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 a larger commitment by the brand to increase the use of more sustainable materials in its products and to 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.

Companies have been working to create everything from packaging, denim and carpet to socks, wetsuits and skateboards from the trillions of pieces of plastic floating in the world’s oceans. Earlier this week, Volcom announced its women’s Simply Solid Spring 2017 collection will be composed of 78 percent ECONYL fiber, which Aquafil produces from 100 percent regenerated nylon waste from landfills and oceans. ECONYL has also been used in clothing collections from Levi’s and Outerknown.


Hannah Furlong is an Editorial Assistant for Sustainable Brands, based in Canada. She is researching the circular economy as a Master's student in Sustainability Management at the University of Waterloo and holds a Bachelor's in Environment and Business Co-op. Hannah… [Read more about Hannah Furlong]


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