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Wearing Blue Without Feeling It: How Shoes Are Made from Plastic Bottles

Have you watched Netflix’s latest documentary Seaspiracy? Well, it mortified me. Among many other issues with the fishing industry, the documentary picked up on the pressing issue of plastic pollutants in our oceans.

Needless to say, there are so many problems that plastic is causing in the seas, from trapping animals and causing them to suffocate, to being consumed by the fish and – once we eat them – us too! The horrors are endless, which is why we need to clean up our act and our oceans!

But this is easy enough to say, and harder to do, especially without innovative ideas of what to do with said plastic after we fish them out. Well, here’s one for you: turn them into shoes. What? Yes, shoes.

The partnership of adidas x Parley and other adidas ventures

adidas partnered with Parley to create a range of apparel that incorporates Parley’s recycled plastic bottles in their design. Here’s one example of the kind of wizardry you’ll find in their collection.

This cosmic coalition came about in 2015, with adidas announcing further plans to release shoes that can be completely recycled called Futurecraft.Loop. They launched their first prototype in 2019 and it’s predicted they’ll be released to the public this year.

How are the adidas Parley shoes made?

According to Insider, the waste is collected by Parley, sorted, and sent away to adidas’ processing station. adidas use bottles containing polyethylene terephthalate, and for the bits and bobs they can’t use – think lids and rings – get sent to regular recycling centres. The bottles are then crushed, washed, and dehydrated until they form flakes.

These plastic flakes get transformed into resin pellets through more drying, heating, and cooling, and these are then used to make filaments. These filaments become polyester yarn et… voila! The final product is used in their Parley shoes and even in other clothing too, giving the collection the name of Primeblue. How cool!

What does this mean for the future of sustainable apparel?

To have such a big brand actively engaging in more sustainable fashion really promotes the cause, and truly, will even get people who may not be initially bothered by these issues to ask why more brands aren’t doing the same?

It will be interesting to see what more adidas has in store for us as we look forward to seeing more big leaps taken by these influential fashion companies.

Creativity breeds innovation

Inspired by the information above, I took the opportunity to write a little poem. I may not have the ingenuity to create materials out of recycled products, but one can still demonstrate a dedication to the cause in their own creative way!

 Barefoot and sinking, you dash
on grains older and worldlier than you,
Hues of gold, fire-red or ash
lining a breathing pool of blue
Curling toes, forgetting woes
in repose you notice it-
Under your very feet
on the path you paced,
Manners yet to be obsolete:
Dropped waste- what a waste!
Below a rose, a thorn grows
and humanity knows, lacking no wit.
But you care and you’re not brash,
creative innovation you pursue.
With rainbow eyes, you’re blind to trash
and see old life be turned anew. 
Curling toes in decisions you chose,
transposed is the tune of your spirit
 The curves of your sole don’t miss a beat,
seen in the curl the waves have traced.
 When recycles can be so sweet,
why singularly leave a bitter taste?
 Decay claims the rose, but new life grows
just as eroded becomes our sandy footprint.

I hope this inspires you to remember that there are always fresh perspectives to be had in tackling problems.

One person’s rubbish is another person’s treasure and sometimes, this can be quite literal!


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