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Allbirds uses sustainably-sourced sugar foam for its soles | Photo source Allbirds

Allbirds and Adidas team up to develop next-level sustainable sneakers

Fashion & Beauty

The goal is to produce a performance shoe that emits as close to zero carbon as possible


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Spotted: Sneaker startup Allbirds and sporting giant Adidas are teaming up to design a performance sports shoe that they believe will have the world’s lowest carbon footprint. This project came out of the desire to redesign sneakers to reach new levels of sustainability, and still perform at a high athletic level for athletes. Another key is to sustainably manufacture them at scale. By combining their areas of expertise, the brands are aiming to create a shoe that has a carbon footprint of just 2 kg compared to the average 12.5 kg of other shoes on the market.

“When it comes to sustainability, we don’t see ourselves competing with one another, but competing for the future. If we don’t bring about change quickly, there won’t be a future to speak of.” Tim Brown, Allbirds’ co-founder, said.

Allbirds launched six years ago with the goal of creating an eco-friendly sneaker alternative, and since then have always been open about its carbon footprint of 7.6 kg per sneaker. Collaborating with Adidas makes sense, as Allbirds does not have the scale and manufacturing capability to reduce its carbon footprint as dramatically as it would like. 

Up to this point, the brands have swapped out polluting materials for better ones, with Adidas switching to recycled plastic and Allbirds using sustainably-sourced sugar foam for its soles. However, these efforts still don’t take into account the entire carbon footprint of the shoe, including the emissions required to transport the materials. Therefore, this collaboration is focused on keeping the carbon footprint as low as possible, which requires designing every part of the process and not just improving the current process.

The companies are hoping to bring the shoe to market sometime in the spring or summer of 2021.



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