Soon there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans, but hopefully up-cycling ocean plastic can reverse that trend and that’ll be good news for everyone.


By 2050 it’s estimated that there will be more plastic than fish in the sea, and that means one of two things – either there’s going to be a heck of a lot of plastic in the oceans or fish stocks are going to bomb. I’ll take the former. Now, hoping to reverse that trend Adidas has released the UltraBOOST Uncaged Parley running shoe – the first mass produced sneaker created using plastic waste that, in this case, has been retrieved from the oceans around the Maldives.


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The shoes, which were created using a slew of new manufacturing technologies that were specifically re-engineered to help up-cycle marine plastic debris into fibres are made up from the equivalent of eleven plastic bottles worth of material and were designed and inspired by ocean waves – to reflect the shoe’s unique story and Adidas and environmental group Parley for the Oceans’ commitment to end the cycle of pollution in the oceans.

Over the next few months Adidas will be making 7,000 pairs available, recycling at least eleven million plastic bottles worth of material from the oceans which will be collected by the Parley Global Clean-up Network. But Adidas don’t want to stop there – they have aspirations to sell over a million of the sneakers in 2017.

“This represents another step on the journey of Adidas and Parley for the Oceans. But we won’t stop there. We’re now committed to scaling those initiatives. We will make one million pairs of shoes using Parley Ocean Plastic in 2017 – and our ultimate ambition is to eliminate virgin plastic from our supply chain,” said Eric Liedtke, Adidas Group Executive and board member responsible for Global Brands.


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“Nobody can save the oceans alone,” said Cyrill Gutsch, Founder, Parley for the Oceans, “each of us can play a role in the solution. It’s in the hands of the creative industries to reinvent faulty materials, products, and business models. The consumer can boost the demand for change. But it’s up to eco innovation leaders, like Adidas, to make change a reality. With this shoe we demonstrate what’s possible.”

Adidas and Parley for the Oceans have also unveiled football jerseys for Bayern Munich and Real Madrid made from recycled ocean plastic, and if all that’s anything to go by it might be the start of a whole new line.

About author

Matthew Griffin

Matthew Griffin, described as “The Adviser behind the Advisers” and a “Young Kurzweil,” is the founder and CEO of the World Futures Forum and the 311 Institute, a global Futures and Deep Futures consultancy working between the dates of 2020 to 2070, and is an award winning futurist, and author of “Codex of the Future” series. Regularly featured in the global media, including AP, BBC, Bloomberg, CNBC, Discovery, RT, Viacom, and WIRED, Matthew’s ability to identify, track, and explain the impacts of hundreds of revolutionary emerging technologies on global culture, industry and society, is unparalleled. Recognised for the past six years as one of the world’s foremost futurists, innovation and strategy experts Matthew is an international speaker who helps governments, investors, multi-nationals and regulators around the world envision, build and lead an inclusive, sustainable future. A rare talent Matthew’s recent work includes mentoring Lunar XPrize teams, re-envisioning global education and training with the G20, and helping the world’s largest organisations envision and ideate the future of their products and services, industries, and countries. Matthew's clients include three Prime Ministers and several governments, including the G7, Accenture, Aon, Bain & Co, BCG, Credit Suisse, Dell EMC, Dentons, Deloitte, E&Y, GEMS, Huawei, JPMorgan Chase, KPMG, Lego, McKinsey, PWC, Qualcomm, SAP, Samsung, Sopra Steria, T-Mobile, and many more.