Adidas unveiled the first shoe made at its fully automated German factory last month. The Futurecraft MFG (Made For Germany) that came out of the Adidas group's Speedfactory in Ansbach is one of the most tangible results of the latest innovation in footwear manufacturing, moving toward increasingly customized production that may be adjusted to market demand more rapidly.
The Futurecraft MFG is a running shoe that will be sold in Adidas stores and a few other retail outlets in the German market. Adidas says the factory will turn out footwear for other categories and the group will take this approach to other markets in the near future. Another Speedfactory is under construction in Cherokee County, Atlanta, and should become operational by the end of next year.
Adidas boasts that the Futurecraft MFG was made with the highest design precision available, using the Aramis technology to understand the movement of an athlete's foot when he or she is running. Patches placed across different parts of the shoe replace the three-striped cage and traditional heel counter to provide support. The Futurecraft MFG comes with a Primeknit upper and a Boost outsole with an integrated torsion bar. An innovative joining process makes the shoe more sustainable, Adidas adds.
Separately, the Adidas group is reportedly preparing to start mass production of its shoes made of plastic waste retrieved in the ocean, as part of a project with Parley for the Oceans. Footwear News reports that Adidas expects to sell about one million pairs of shoes made with recycled ocean plastic from one of its major sneaker franchises by the end of 2017.
Adidas and Parley for the Oceans already released a limited number of running shoes made with Parley Ocean Plastic in June, to mark World Oceans Day. The upper was made from plastic collected in coastal areas in the Maldives, and illegal deep-sea gillnets retrieved by Parley for the Oceans' partner organization, Sea Shepherd. The Adidas Group has been striving to eliminate plastic in other aspects of its business, such as plastic bags for shopping in its stores or plastic bottles at its head office.