Adidas x Parley: Using Technology to Turn Bad Plastic into Good

Since Bionic Yarn, a New York City-based start-up, made a name for itself by making fabric from recycled ocean plastic, a worthy fashion trend was born.

We were ecstatic when Bionic Yarn  gained further column inches after their collaboration with G Star Raw. Together the partnership launched the RAW for the Oceans line range, a collection of denim pieces woven with about nine tons of the plastic. With such attention to a worthy cause should it come as a surprise that Adidas have made the sustainable decision to also use the plastic waste from the ocean to create some stylish footwear?

About 16.5 old bottles and 13 grams of plastic from gill nets go into a single upper on one of Adidas’s new shoe.
About 16.5 old bottles and 13 grams of plastic from gill nets go into a single upper on one of Adidas’s new shoe | Photo Credit: Adidas

Working with Parley for the Oceans, a company founded by Cyrill Gutsch, Adidas got quite familiar with the plastic waste that Parley retrieves from the coast of Africa to make into thread, which allowed them to design and create sea form green trainers that are quite easy on the eye. Using PET, plastic commonly used for water bottles, the new design is entirely made out of recycled plastic and brags white with teal thread stitches all fused together with bio-waste-powered steam.

ALSO READ: This Fashion Tech Collab Plans to Save Our Oceans

The sad news is that Adidas are releasing only 50 pairs of their limited edition trainers because apparently spinning plastic ocean trash into high-performance fibres is quite a hard thing to do. We also found out that the new Adidas trainer’s single upper on one shoe requires 16.5 old bottles and 13 grams of plastic from gill nets, now that’s a lot of bottles! I guess its better that the plastic is part of our shoe rather than be at the bottom of our oceans, that’s why it’s great to see Adidas successfully taking their idea from prototype to R.T.W. On the end product, Alexander Taylor, who is an industrial designer who works on special projects with Adidas, shared,  “It’s a functional shoe in that you could put it on,” with Gutsch adding “With the right technology, you can turn old, bad plastic into new, good plastic—into something consumers can feel okay about buying. Like an Adidas running shoe”.


The Adidas x Parley shoe is just the beginning with whispers that Adidas are planning to continue down the sustainable route from here on out. So here’s hoping!

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Muchaneta Kapfunde

Founding editor-in-chief at
Founding editor-in-chief & WearableTechStylist of, Muchaneta has worked in the fashion industry for over 14 years. She is currently one of the leading influencers speaking and writing about the merger of fashion with technology and wearable technology and a regular contributor to digital news sites like Wareable.
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