Wearable Waste: Shoes 3D-Printed with Plastic Ocean Trash

3d printed shoe

For the COP21 conference in Paris, Adidas decided to rethink oceanic garbage, turning it into raw material for new 3D-printed footwear, with textures and colors hinting at its unusual origins.

The shoe consists of an upper made with ocean-harvested plastic and a 3D-printed midsole made from recycled polyester and gill nets, part of a larger exploration process the company is pursuing for reused materials.

3d plastic waste adidas


The company says there is no reason to stand on the sidelines, even if political action is taking place internationally, and that business leaders need to step up and lead environmental efforts as well, in and beyond the footwear industry. One could argue that this is still a small step, or a greenwashing effort, but it at least shows the potential for new technologies to transform old manufacturing habits.

3d recycled running shoe

From Adidas’ project partners, Parley: “2015 is our year, the year of the oceans: the ocean movement successfully brought the cause onto the COP21 agenda in paris. Protecting life underwater became the 14th development goal of the united nations. With a framework of political goodwill in place, it is the right moment to transform words into action.”

3d foot basewear

“Therefore, Parley in Paris is all about updating knowledge, sharing visions, fine-tuning strategies, creating concepts and forging collaborations in order to kickstart change. W are really excited to have Adidas supporting us in this journey and showing how you can take concrete steps in the right direction.”

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See more in New Materials or under Science. December, 2015.