Sports shoe manufacturer Adidas has announced that it is to release a new fully-biodegradable shoe made from mushroom leather.
Fashion continues to merge with the world of food with the adoption of biotechnologies developed in food labs. Just as consumers are looking for plant-based, carbon-neutral foods to eat, so too are they demanding sustainability in the clothes they wear.
Shoes and sneakers are notoriously damaging to the environment and often end up in landfill, or even in the oceans. Some major shoe manufacturers have recognised the sea change in consumer behaviour and are making moves to keep up.
The first wave of sustainable footwear involved shoes made from recycled plastics and materials such as polyester. Some have utilised materials like plastics taken from the oceans. However, a second wave indicates that manufacturers are looking to move away from plastics altogether and adopt fully-natural biodegradable alternatives.
Adidas is to work with Bolt Threads, a biotech company that produces a mushroom leather known as Mylo™. The material is made from mycelium, the fungal network that acts as a kind of natural internet below the ground to allow plants to communicate through the soil.
Adidas has ambitious sustainability goals, and creating a fully biodegradable, sustainable shoe is an important milestone for the manufacturer, for fashion and for the burgeoning plant-based research sector.
The company first launched plant-based shoes in June, with animal-free versions of two of its most iconic shoes. They were made with recycled polyester coated in polyurethane. Shortly afterwards, the company went on to launch an eco-friendly line called Clean Classics, made with natural and recycled materials. This step is seen as significant in product development, however it is not yet clear when the shoes will be made available for purchase.