Details of the Adidas x Allbirds Futurecraft collaboration.

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Let’s start with the number 3. Well, actually, it’s rounded off. And as you will see, precision is important when it comes to the subject matter. So let’s be more specific: 2.94. That’s the carbon footprint, in kilograms, of the aptly named Futurecraft.Footprint, a sneaker created by Adidas and Allbirds as part of a year-long project that broke convention not only through its aggressive stance on sustainable development, but by the simple fact that two competitors at the same time suddenly found themselves acting as collaborators.

You can’t buy this sneaker just yet, but the vendors are planning a fall release. (Pricing is also yet to be determined.) And while that means a bit of a wait for avid fans, the knowledge that this sneaker was developed – and not just to prove a point, but to be sold to real people. – this should be enough to convince any informed buyer.

“For me, the most exciting part of this project was just breaking the company rules a bit,” says Hana Kajimura, sustainability manager at Allbirds. “The climate crisis is so urgent, all of these issues we are facing are so urgent. There is no reason why companies cannot share information back and forth to contribute to a low carbon future. And what’s great about this collaboration is in the at the end, it proved what we thought from the start: that if we worked together and shared what we both know, we could go so much further. that either of us could not do it alone. “

The carbon footprint is written directly on the midsole, in case you need it.

Courtesy

Before that, neither Allbirds nor Adidas had achieved a shoe that broke the barrier of 3 kilograms of CO2 emissions. Now, working remotely, connecting digitally, and using only methods and materials already available, they’ve done it. “It’s a bit like when athletes are looking for records,” says Florence Rohart, senior designer at Adidas Future. “It’s healthy competition; you challenge each other in a way that advances the big picture.” Rohart credits Allbirds’ assessment methodology, which looks at everything from materials to shipping to use, that it helped bring the sneakers down to “under 25% carbon emissions from the industry standard ”.

“The more we evaluate with all the learning we have, or the more iterations we do with products and prototypes in the future, the more knowledge we will have and the better product we can build,” she continues. “It’s definitely something we’re taking with us with this collaboration: rewriting what’s possible and embarking on a new journey.”

Functionally, when it comes to the Futurecraft.Footprint, that meant starting with the ultralight Adizero silhouette. A heavier shoe doesn’t just mean more raw materials, it also adds more weight to shipping, further increasing its overall footprint. After landing on that initial foundation, the teams reshaped the midsole by combining Allbirds’ sugarcane SweetFoam with technical know-how from Adidas to create a component that worked for the low-emission project. carbon as well as for the end user – AKA the person who is going to run in these shoes. The upper, which is undyed and made from 70% recycled material and 30% Tencel (which is derived from wood pulp), is reinforced with embroidery instead of additional layers and panels. Less materials, less weight, it’s all good.

embroidery replaces additional panels or layers to reinforce stress points such as the heel, arch and toes
Embroidery replaces additional panels or layers to strengthen stress points such as the heel, arch, and toes.

Courtesy

“This is what we call ‘the right amount of nothing’,” Kajimura says. “It tries to remove any unnecessary details or components or bells and whistles. So I think that’s where the two brands met in the middle. It was less about saying, ‘This is an Adidas component. and it’s an Allbirds component, ‘but furthermore, if we got to the heart of the matter, which was the low carbon design, we naturally found a place where the two brands could meet. “

While the most immediate result of this low carbon design philosophy can be felt with the Futurecraft.Footprint, the ripple effect of this project will surely be seen in other versions to come. “This collaboration has really helped us to assess how we work as a brand and how our standard process of creating performance footwear can be challenged,” says Rohart. “It was a great learning and a welcome challenge on how we can improve our carbon footprint as a whole.”

All in all, it’s about rethinking the way we make shoes (and everything in between). “We have always believed that people don’t buy sustainable products, they buy good products,” says Kajimura. “And for too long we’ve carried that idea forward, either you choose the sustainable option or you choose the one you want. And that’s just the wrong compromise for customers. There is absolutely no reason why it cannot be both. “

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