Courtesy of Adidas, Allbirds
Running and sustainability go hand-in-hand. From taking in sweeping views on the trail to breathing in fresh air with every deep inhalation, it’s in all runners’ best interest to do their part to take care of the planet. So needless to say, we were all ears when we heard that Adidas and Allbirds—two of our favorite footwear brands out there—were teaming up to do the (seemingly) impossible: Create a running shoe with no carbon footprint.
The result is the new Adizero X Allbirds 2.94 KG CO2e running shoe, the latest evolution of the two brands’ Futurecraft.Footprint initiative that launched last year. As the shoe’s name suggests, it has a carbon footprint of just 2.94 kg CO2e. It’s not zero yet, but it’s well ahead of the competition and even their own existing products. For context, the shoe emits 63 percent fewer emissions than one of Adidas’ other popular running shoes made with recycled materials, the Adizero RC3.
“Drastic changes and solutions are possible within a very short time. As we are already in the midst of climate change, it is important to show people that industries can turn the switch now,” Kimia Yaraghchian, product manager at Adidas, said of the partnership. “We’re hoping to pave the way for others to break new ground in footwear and clothing. [Companies] can take further steps towards zero carbon waste by working together.”
To make their carbon-neutral dream a reality, Adidas and Allbirds had to truly reimagine the standard running shoe. In doing so, they turned to Allbirds’ proprietary plant-based textiles that made the brand famous. The shoe’s upper is made from 77 percent recycled polyester and 23 percent natural lyocell—a fabric derived from sustainably grown wood—while the midsole is made of sugarcane fibers. The lightweight and minimalistic outsole is made with recycled rubber. Like Allbirds’ line of running apparel that launched late last year, every shoe has the 2.94 KG CO2e footprint emblazoned right on the side of the shoe, along with a label on the tongue detailing the breakdown of the amount of emissions that come from each part of the manufacturing process.
What Allbirds brings to the table on the sustainability front, Adidas matches in performance. After all, a sustainable running shoe is only effective if it performs well enough to replace all of the other, less-sustainably made shoes you have laying around. Thanks to the lyocell and sugarcane-derived textiles, the shoe is extremely lightweight and breathable—especially the upper. Adidas also removed the torsion bar, which both saves materials and results in much higher flexibility while running. Reviewers love how soft and cushioned the footbed is, claiming that there is virtually no break-in time. As you as you pull them out of the box, they’re ready to hit the pavement.
Adizero X Allbirds 2.94 KG CO2e is available in three colorways: a non-dyed white, a two-toned black and white, and a third option with neon yellow and orange accents. Notably, the shoe was also produced at mass scale, which means you don’t have to worry about it selling out as quickly as other highly anticipated drops, and there’s real potential to make an impact if enough people swap (and properly recycle, of course!) their old runners.
“This project has laid the foundation for the decarbonization goal,” Yaraghchian said. “All the learnings from this project have subsequently and immediately been incorporated into the creation of further running shoes in order to achieve our footprint reductions more quickly. So stay tuned for more inspiring running shoes that will shake up the market.”
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