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Olympic sneakers tell a never-ending story

Global – At this year’s Olympics, athletes are wearing tailor-made sneakers designed so that they ‘never have to be thrown away’. The sustainable shoe wear was made by Sports Infinity, a three-year research programme launched by popular sportswear brand Adidas to boost the recycling efficiency of sneakers and accessories.

The unique research project is receiving funding from the European Commission and studies how sports goods can be broken down and remoulded with scrap material from various other industries to produce new products. It is said that the initiative is leading the development of a three-dimensional ‘super-material’ that can be endlessly restyled using a waste-free and chemical adhesive-free process.

Sport Infinity essentially creates sport wear out of an ‘innovative 3D shapeable recycled material’, explains Glenn Bennett, executive board member of Adidas AG. He asserts that the football boots of the future could contain ‘everything from carbon used in aircraft manufacturing to fibres of the boots that scored during the World Cup’.

The new production process allows for consumers to become co-creators once they hand the shoes in at end-of-life stage. They are in a position to co-design the new product together with Adidas so that every pair of sneakers is not just recycled but reimagined to the consumer’s most personal specifications.

Adidas strives to deliver a real-life solution, not just a cool concept. ‘We are continuously searching for new ways to make better products and to innovate manufacturing techniques,’ Bennet notes. To help progress along, the brand is working closely with young athletes across the world to collect feedback. Bennet stresses that the consumer’s perception of sustainability has changed for the better.

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