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Adidas has new sea legs – well shoes actually. The sports company giant partnered up with Parley for the Oceans, a multidisciplinary organization made up of thought leaders, activists, filmmakers, creatives, and visionaries, to raise awareness on ocean pollution as well as how we can use ocean waste and debris to create innovative pieces of fashion. During a General Assembly “Oceans. Climate. Life.” talk hosted by the United Nations and Parley for the Oceans, adidas revealed the world’s first shoe upper made entirely from recycled ocean waste and illegal deep-sea gillnets.


Photo: Ecouterre/ Sole of sneaker created from eco-friendly materials, the upper from recycled ocean waste.

This is only a sneak peak of an “actual consumer-ready ocean-plastic products the partnership has in store,” according to Eric Liedtke, head of global brands at adidas, and Cyrill Gutsch, founder of Parley for the Oceans. Gutsch explains,

“We are at war with the oceans. And we are destroying the magic blue universe beneath us with the exploitative way we are doing business, before we even really explored it. We can turn this around. And it is the responsibility of the creative community to do so.”

adidas-parley-for-the-oceans-recycled-sneakers-4Photo: Ecouterre/Sea Shepard Conservation Society and nets.

Acquiring the material used to create the shoe was no small feat. The Sea Shepard Conservation Society, a Parley partner, retrieved the nets after spending a grueling 110 days tracking an illegal poaching vessel to the coast of West Africa. Not your average day job. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, in 2006 there were 46,000 pieces of floating plastic for every square mile of ocean. Plastic debris is responsible for the deaths of over a million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals every year. Adidas and Parley have taken a small step in this gigantic cleanup and it’s exciting to see what the future holds.

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