Lowest Carbon Footprint Performance Shoe
When you were young, did you used to hastily tape up newspaper-based sports results from competing high school teams in your bedroom? I competed in cross-country, basketball and track and I remember using my competitors’ achievements as fuel for my fire. And while my two younger brothers would tell you that I rarely needed more fuel, that’s a different debate for a different day.
When Ashley Skeith of the Hudson Bay Eagles lit up the floor for 32 points, I’d cut out the image of her from The Columbian and tape it up on my bulletin board. When a teammate from Columbia River High School, who I was dying to best (Heather Meler), outran me in the 3200m, I’d go home and write the time in an erasable (because I was going to beat them next) marker, on my white board. It all served as fuel!
So when adidas and Allbirds announced they had come out with a 2.94 kg CO2e pair of performance running footwear, I knew I had to sit in the neighboring stands and get a closer scoop. I reached out to my pal @Rishi and asked if he would help me track them down. Ever the gentleman, Rishi said — “Of Course!” Which is how I came to own a pair of these highly coveted performance running shoes made by a competitor brand, or brandS (plural).
Two point nine four. That’s holy grail material. In our collective quest to reduce the carbon footprint of any product we consume (soda, milk, avocados, clothing, transportation), I’ve long paid attention to what my footprint is. In the footwear industry, all of us are chasing Better. Which is why when this announcement came out, I read on with fascination and fervor.
Five things to celebrate:
- Adidas and Allbirds did what very few brands could do. They collaborated. It sounds simple, but it is not — in our industry. The old rules tell us that the market size is the market size. And therefore, marketplace ownership and penetration is a zero-sum game: when one party wins, the other loses. This paradigm makes it difficult to collaborate. The new rules are — collaboration will win the day. Every day.
- They made the product sexy. We don’t want function, if we don’t get form. As a consumer and an athlete, I will never sacrifice form for function. This is why no one buys Reebok.
3. It feels great! This is the importance of function! Wearing this shoe feels like the racing flats I used to love from Asics. They were low drop, they felt more like socks than shoes, and that means it felt like I experienced great responsiveness while wearing them.
4. The shoes tell a story. In the midsole, where runners typically track the mileage, or in the very least — the purchase date — the adidas x allbirds shoe has 2.94 kgco2e emblazoned across. The tongue screams transparency. Like ingredients in a package, consumers can see and understand the breakdown of the carbon impact accounting. I.e. the actual shoe making demands 73% (2.13 of 2.94 kg CO2e) of the total carbon footprint.
5. The shoes are inspiring. In the sock liner, consumers can see the carbon footprint of versions 1 through 5. You can tell the teams worked long and hard on how to bring the carbon footprint down. This is officially the world’s smallest carbon footprint performance running shoe. And gosh — no matter what anyone says (i.e. “we could do better”) the fact is, they didn’t. Adidas x Allbirds did it.
6. It’s NOT perfect. The vamp and chassis crinkles on itself. Footwear purists would scoff. But look…we’re not gonna achieve the distant ambitions and goals we all have for lowest carbon footprint shoe (or anything for that matter) by holding off until it’s perfect. Progress over Perfection.
So kudos to the team! I’d love to meet you all and learn more. Way to go! We’re all cheering you on, and we hope you keep earning your PRs, because it’ll make us all better!
#bettertogether #carbonfootprint #footwear #brands #change #climatechange