Two rival footwear brands, Adidas and Allbirds, have decided to collaborate rather than compete to get the first high-performance zero-carbon athletic shoe to market.
The two brands have been working on the concept for the past nine months and hope to have the project completed within a year.
The planned shoe will be sold on the mass market but will be technical enough to compete at the Olympics and other premier sports events. The companies have not yet decided which sport the shoe will be designed for.
Allbirds was founded as a footwear company committed to using sustainable materials in its products, while Adidas has released a shoe made from recycled ocean plastics in the past.
The carbon impact of the new shoe will be measured from design to production, shipping, warehousing, and end-of-life. Both brands have described the urgency in creating a sports shoe with as close to zero-carbon impact as possible as a “race”.
While there are no plans to make the design of the shoe open-source, as Allbirds has done in the past, other companies will be invited to use the carbon footprint methodology.
The two teams in San Francisco and Herzogenaurach, Germany have been working on the project remotely, after an initial flight to introduce their teams last autumn.