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This shoe has a smaller carbon footprint than a Big Mac

Adidas and Allbirds' new collaboration, FUTURECRAFT.FOOTPRINT, is a sustainable shoe meant to inspire other brands to achieve carbon neutrality.

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What do you get when you cross a legacy footwear giant with a soaring upstart that disrupted the world of shoe design and sales? Nothing—at least when it comes to carbon footprint.

Adidas and Allbirds this week unveiled FUTURECRAFT.FOOTPRINT, the first creation from a unique collaboration between the two footwear brands. 

The shoe has a 2.94kg CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) and was created with 63 percent fewer emissions than a comparable shoe, such as the Adizero RC3, which clocks in at 7.86kg C02e.

As Fast Company reported this week, that means each pair of FUTURECRAFT.FOOTPRINT shoes has a smaller carbon footprint than one Big Mac.

Before the shoes’ official release this fall, 100 pairs will be raffled off to members of the Adidas Creators Club.
Photo: Allbirds

The brands said they joined forces to make a shoe that “showcases a new approach to more sustainable design and an alternative method of manufacturing that drastically reduces carbon impact.” For this collab, Adidas and Allbirds said they shared typically guarded trade secrets such as materials, supply chains, and innovations.

The two companies, as disparate as they might seem in market longevity and revenue size, now hope other footwear makers will follow suit with their own groundbreaking collabs.

“Our partnership with Allbirds is a beacon of what can happen when competing brands from the same industry see the possibilities in coming together to design,” said Brian Grevy, an Adidas executive board member. “By truly co-creating and providing each other with open access to knowledge and resources—such as Allbirds’ knowledge of carbon calculation and experience with natural materials, and Adidas’ capabilities in manufacturing and performance footwear—this is a call to action for other brands.”

Their collab was impressive on all fronts—product design, material innovation, sustainability, and supply chain. In less than a year, the brands “reimagined materials, manufacturing techniques, and even packaging to reach the lowest possible footprint—whilst chasing the vision for a low-carbon shoe without compromising on performance.”

“We believe that the challenge of solving climate change is the problem of our generation and solving it will not be done alone,” said Tim Brown, co-founder and co-CEO of Allbirds. “We need to find new business models, new innovations, and new ways of working together. Our partnership with Adidas is an example of that. Over the past year, our two teams have raced as one to create a shoe as close to zero carbon emissions as we could possibly achieve. The results are an exciting step forward, and hopefully, an example for others to follow.”

Read more: Take a glimpse into the future of outdoor footwear innovation

Adidas and Allbirds said FUTURECRAFT.FOOTPRINT was based on Adidas’ Lightstrike midsole and tested to the same performance standards. The midsole compound was reimagined with Allbirds’ sugarcane-based SweetFoam, a low-carbon natural component. The shoe’s new upper material is made with 70 percent recycled polyester and 30 percent natural Tencel—a fiber made from wood pulp—“for a smooth, lightweight upper that lives up to performance expectations with a highly reduced carbon impact.”

This month, 100 pairs of the shoes will be raffled off to participants in the Adidas Creators Club, the brand’s membership program. In the fall, the product’s official launch will send 10,000 pairs to market, followed by a wider release in Spring/Summer ’22.