The sneaker wars may just be transforming to the sustainability wars in front of our eyes. Adidas has unveiled more eco-friendly versions of the Stan Smith and Superstar, both of which are made from 70 percent recycled materials on the upper.
The speckled midsoles also suggest recycled construction, although details are sparse because the release is Japan-only for the time being. But with the strides Nike has been making in more sustainable footwear, it should only be a matter of time before these sneakers (or ones close to them) make their way stateside.
'Clean Classics' — The Stan Smith and Superstar are part of Adidas' new "The Clean Classics" collection, which will revamp the brand's most timeless silhouettes with more sustainable materials. The subline is marked by a green logo on both the sneakers' tongues, as well as a "Primegreen" hit on the cork Ortholite sockliner. Because it's naturally occurring, cork is a more sustainable alternative to petroleum-based materials.
Should the duo become available in the U.S., they should be more attainable than the Space Hippie and other more sustainable sneakers Nike has been rolling out. Adidas' may not be as sexy, but there's something to be said for the classics.
What else has Adidas been cooking up? — Adidas pledged earlier this year to eliminate virgin polyester and plastics from all of its designs by 2024. This will be done in large part by using Primegreen and Primeblue fabrics, the latter of which uses ocean-sourced plastic from Parley. Primegreen, which launched after Primeblue this year, is also made of 100 percent recycled polyester.
The brand is also working with Round Two cofounder Sean Wotherspoon on a forthcoming line called "Superearth." Wotherspoon has been teasing the sneakers for months on Instagram, but no release dates have been announced. One sample contains an important message inside the tongue that hints at the paradox of buying "sustainable" goods. "The truth is that this shoe alone will not save the planet," the text reads. "However, we challenged our creation process to find more sustainable solutions. Consider this as a commitment, a commitment for continuous innovation in the field of sustainability."
While Adidas is focusing on those developments, consumers concerned with sustainability should zero in on a simple change to their behavior: buying less shit. No matter how responsibly sourced an addition to your wardrobe is, the truth is that we buy more than we need and get rid of what we have before it's ready to be discarded.
You probably don't need these, but if you want them — Both the Stan Smith and Superstar are available through Atmos Japan for ~ $136. Before enlisting a proxy, take a minute to consider how much use you'll get out of them — and if you do decide to purchase, wear them until you cannot any longer.