Allbirds-Adidas Futurecraft.Shoes: details, price, release date
The top of the new shoe is a 70 percent recycled polyester mesh and 30 percent Tencel, a cellulose fiber material that also appears in Allbirds Tree Runners. Like many other products in Adidas ’Terrex and Futurecraft lines, the new shoe only comes in pure white, as dyeing is also a process that uses a lot of energy.
The company sent me a pair of new running shoes to try on. I weighed a women’s shoe size 7.5 to 4.6 ounces, incredibly lightweight; for comparison, my current favorite Hoka Clifton 7s weighs 8.1 ounces per shoe. Weight reduction has two purposes. First, it increases the performance factor: runners can save energy if they don’t have to wear a big, small shoe on each foot. Second, it reduces the financial and environmental costs of manufacturing and shipping.
“A big part of the process was reducing weight,” says Sam Handy, Adidas ’vice president of design and racing. “Weight has a huge impact on production through shipments, materials and carbon input.”
In addition to exchanging materials with Adidas and Allbirds, they also changed the design of the shoe to support the foot without adding additional materials. For example, instead of sewing additional panels to reinforce the top of the shoe, the companies used seams that are ventilated around the top to strengthen the toe, arch, and heel.
“When another running shoe could support the inner running of the heel, we were able to do it in the direction of the embroidery,” says Jad Finck, vice president of innovation and sustainability at Allbirds. “You’re deleting an extra piece but finding another way to get into the fabric of the shoe.”
And of course, more than just ordinary Allbirds sneakers or everyday shoes, Futurecraft.Footprint has tested Adidas standards-compliant performance with the stable of existing Adidas athletes. The first prototypes are now being rolled out, but Adidas plans to distribute them to its athletes as footwear for recovery or training before the Tokyo Summer Olympics.
When we get to ordinary people, Adidas will be raffling off a limited number of pairs to its Founders Club members. The shoes will go on sale in the fall for the public. Company representatives say we can expect it to cost as much as ordinary Allbirds or Adidas running shoes, but no specific pricing details have been released since then.
Better roads ahead
Since Adidas and Allbirds were able to send me a prototype pair for testing, I took Futurecraft.Footprint for a few days of 3 to 5 miles.
The prototypes are very attractive, very light and as amazing in size. Adidas shoes are usually larger in size than other shoes I’ve tested; if you usually take the measure to consider inflammation, you don’t have to do it here. The direct white-on-white seam is not unnoticed in the upper whispers, and the tongue has perforations for better ventilation on hot days. I haven’t been able to test them in the long run, but I would be very interested to see if the reinforced stitches around the toe and heel hold up over time.
Unfortunately, they are not suitable for me. The light arch supports in the middle of the lightstrike sole don’t fit my arches comfortably or straight. The Lightstrike midsole is one of the most popular Adidas performance shoe lines, so if you love Adizero running shoes, you’ll probably love these.
The most interesting aspect of Futurecraft.Footprint was that Adidas started to study different projects to deal with sustainability and climate change. Some may be more successful than others, but it took Adidas and Allbirds about 12 months to get from the drawing board to the finished shoe. The mark indicating the weight – written “2.94 kg” on the side of the shoe – is also scratched by hand, suggesting that this suggestion is just one step in the process.
With a few athletic clothing companies (including two big names like this) presenting carbon emission reduction projects, it’s just a showcase of a much bigger problem. But the high speed of completion of this project suggests that we can change the way we manufacture consumer goods much faster than we think.
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