Adidas - Ultraboost 21 x Parley Shoes

overall rating:



Mariam Ziauddin
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Upon my first visit to the Adidas Sustainability website I was skeptical about how green and pretty the pictures of all the collected plastics, but was considerably surprised after conducting a deep dive on how much information was given about their sustainable shoes working with Parley Ocean Plastics and Allbirds. These two companies Adidas partnered with are all about collecting plastics of the coast a repurposing them to be used within the shoe and the other working to reduce the carbon footprint of each shoe. Their is a lot of information on what the shoes are made of regarding the percentages of plastics upcycled to use and about all the wonderful features each shoe has to boost your performance as a customer looking for new shoes. Their is also a large portion on who makes the shoes and how each worker is compensated through working with this company under the “Factory Worker” website. However, there is significant lack of information on how each shoe is made and where the materials are coming from in the world. Nor how it is chemically processed or how that effects the environment at all. This raises concern for me since this could mean that their transportation costs could be higher in environmental destruction. Not to mention that the Adidas store is located all around the world which takes up a higher shipping cost at the selling side of its life cycle since it has to be transported to consumer stores to be sold.

What it's made of:


Only a few out of hundreds of shoes on the Adidas website are made up of Parley Ocean up cycled plastic waste from coastal communities and shorelines. This company prides itself with this particular type of shoe being non dyed and the color patterned added through a more sustainable technology. However, there is no specification for what this more “sustainable” technology is to give the shoe some life! In more detail about the percentages of how much recycled material is used in the shoe, under the highlights section it states that 50% of the upper part of the shoe that covers the foot is textile and 75% of the textile is made from prime blue yarn. This type of yarn is a performance fabric made with Parley Ocean Fabric as a way for Adidas to commit to their goal of ceasing the use of virgin polyester by 2024 as stated on their website. Through this push for effort to reach a more environmentally friendly line of up cycled plastics I am giving this section a high rating, since there are a lot of companies out there that do not think twice about which materials are used or where it comes from. 

How it's made:


From their website under the specifications section, there are multiple features that showcase the performance of these shoes. Some of them include, rope lace closure, a stretch mesh, and a rubber outsole which all have zero information on how each of these features are made. The only information the Adidas website expands on is the fact that it is made with Parley Ocean Plastic and is non dyed. There is not much information about where each piece of ocean plastic is derived from specifically or from where it is imported from. There is also a lack of information on how many chemical processes these pieces go though and, how much carbon emission that spews out since the chemical breakdown of turning one product into another is resource intensive for water and energy. The missing information of beginning processes of the life cycle this shoe is the reason I will be giving this section a lower score. Parley Ocean Plastics does a magnificent job on communicating where their plastics comes from and who collects them, as it is stated on their website! They have 260,000 volunteers from 30 countries all around the world working to cleanup the oceans.

Who makes it:


Under the websites Factory Workers page Adidas makes it clear that they care for the well-being of their workers and created a “Workplace Standards” under their supply chain code of conduct which watches out for each employee. As apart of the Fair Labor Association (FLA) the fair compensation for each worker to have enough money to fit basic needs, housing, health care, transportation and discretionary income which is promising to see on a companies website. For concerns of Child Labor, the company has a specific section preaching about their support with United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights to prohibitive employment of children. Adidas is also working with Allbirds to reduce their carbon footprint. From there a carbon footprint calculation for each sneakers that Adidas makes is 10-15 kilograms of carbon dioxide, which they are now striving reduce their carbon emission by 2 kilograms per pair of shoe. This shows that they are collaborating with these sustainable companies to help bend the climate curve downward. Because of the transparency of who their workers are, which his usually hidden from most product, websites I will be giving this section a higher rating.