The material—somewhere between plastic and rubber—can be knitted into the upper, molded into the outsole, and formed into eyelets and the tongue label, all fused together, no glue needed. It is made entirely of reusable thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU).
At the end of each pair’s lifecycle, owners can return the shoes to Adidas, where they get washed, ground to pellets, and melted into material for a new pair of sneakers.
“Taking plastic waste out of the system is the first step, but we can’t stop there,” according to Eric Liedtke, executive board member of global brands for the Adidas Group.
“What happens to your shoes after you’ve worn them out? You throw them away—except there is no away,” he said in a statement. “There are only landfills and incinerators and ultimately an atmosphere choked with excess carbon, or oceans filled with plastic waste.
“The next step is to end the concept of ‘waste’ entirely,” Liedtke continued. “Our dream is that you can keep wearing the same shoes over and over again.”
The first-generation Loop is rolling out first to 200 lucky wearers around the world, who are challenged to run, return the shoes, and share feedback on their experience.
Those insights will be used to shape a roadmap for wider release, expected in spring/summer 2021.