Matt Burgess reported last week for Wired that Adidas is testing a new shoe manufactured from a single synthetic material, instead of the dozen found in their typical sneakers. This is the press image showing the different components:

Picture of the recyclable Adidas shoes with different parts of the shoe separated.

By limiting themselves to one material, it means:

  1. They can be crushed and easily recycled without needing to pull them apart.

  2. It could enable a subscription service, where people like me who don’t care enough about fashion can send back worn shoes and get replacements.

  3. Because they can’t use bleach, the shoe is an off-white. I love earthy and neutral colours now, so I think it looks rather nice.

I still have questions about the supply chain, including the treatment of people making these shoes, and where the raw material for the shoes comes from. I also appreciate there’s a financial disensentive to doing so, but I’d be even more impressed if these shoes were somehow more resilient, and required fewer replacements in the first place. I was going to end saying this is a step in the right direction though, but that’s bad even by my standards.

I don’t care that much for fashion, as mentioned in point two. But my hope is this is part of a wider industry trend towards more sustainable clothing. Australia has learned how wasteful the cotton industry is first hand, for example.