Each year billions of shoes are worn, fall apart, and then chucked into a landfill. About 300 million pairs of running shoes are thrown away in the UK alone. In an attempt to avoid this Adidas is using its factories to produce shoes that can be ground into pellets, melted down, and then made into new running trainers. They are calling this first shoe the Futurecraft Loop. The shoe does not look too different from any other. It is made with a foam midsole, and outer sole, a knitter upper, and insole, laces and a torsion bar for stability. The entire shoe is manufactured using a version of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU).
In order to recycle the shoe, Adidas has them washed and shipped to one of the plants of its industrial partner ASF. Once the shoes arrive, they are ground down into fine pellets and melted back to its original state to be turned back into a shoe. TPUs are a type of plastic considered to have elastic properties and are largely resistant to oil and grease. Before this, Adidas didn’t have one material it could use to make an entire shoe. The uppers of the running shoes were typically made from polyester. Although some shoes can already be recycled, Adidas’ effort uses the materials to make an entirely new shoe designed for performance.