adidas’s New Vegan Shoes Will be Made of Mushrooms

The company is on a mission to use more vegan and recycled materials


adidas vegan shoes.

(Courtesy adidas)

This company is getting greener. In fact, adidas’s latest plant-based shoes will be made of mushrooms. This leather alternative is made of mycelium, a fungus, that has been used to make vegan leather and a host of other products.

This is not the first vegan material that the athletic-wear company has used. In 2020, adidas made a vegan version of one of its most popular sports shoes, the Stan Smith, and these new plant-based alternatives are just part of the company’s commitment to sustainability and ending plastic waste according to Business Insider.

The company announced in a press release on December 28, 2020, that 60 percent of all its products will be made with sustainable materials this year.  These include football jerseys made from recycled polyester to the vegan Stan Smith shoes. The products will be made with recycled polyester or sustainable cotton and eventually the mushroom leather that is being produced in a partnership with Bolt Threads.

“Sustainability is an integral part of the adidas business philosophy,” adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted said in the press release. “We have continued to invest in sustainability initiatives during the coronavirus pandemic and we will significantly expand our range of sustainable products in 2021. To this end, for example, we have worked with our suppliers to create the structures that make it possible to process recycled materials on a large scale. Not only does our commitment make adidas more sustainable, but it also drives the development of the whole industry.”

While the company has been using recycled materials in its products since 2015, when it teamed up with the environmental organization Parley for the Oceans and made Parley versions of the popular Ultraboost running shoes. The number of shoes made from the plastic waste collected from beaches and coastal regions has been steadily growing. In fact, over 15 million were manufactured in 2020 and the goal is to produce 17 million in 2021.

In 2019, adidas made a sports shoe called FUTURECRAFT.LOOP that is made from 100 percent recycled materials and can be recycled over and over again. The shoe is made from 100 percent reusable TPU that is spun to yarn, knitted and then clean-fused to a midsole without using any glue. Even the laces are made of recycled plastic. When the shoe wears out, just return it to the company so it can be remade into new shoes.

The company made the switch to sustainable cotton in 2018, according to the press release, and is currently working on the development of recycled materials with the Finnish start-up Infinite Fiber to transform used clothing into a cotton-like material.

But one of the biggest changes is the switch to using plant-based products by committing to not use fur in any of its apparel and the upcoming switch to the mycelium vegan leather for footwear.

But adidas is not alone in switching to more sustainable products in the manufacturing of sports shoes. Nike made their 2020 Space Hippie line made from scrap materials from the factory floor that they call “space junk” and recycled materials. Sustainability is becoming the new trend in athletic footwear and hopefully more shoe companies will hop on board.

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