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Parley and Adidas Join Forces To Turn Ocean Plastic Into Shoes

IT’S MORNING. ANOTHER PICTURE-PERFECT DAY BY THE SEA. You lace up your new running shoes.

Photo courtesy of Parley.

Stepping into the crisp, bright day, you fill your lungs with air. Soon, you’re at the beach, hitting your stride.

You stumble. Tangled around your foot is the scourge of coastlines and oceans worldwide: a dirty mass of single-use plastic. Washed up on dry land, bobbing in the surf, bottles, bags, and other debris isn’t just trashing your morning run. It’s strangling life on Earth — above and below the waves.

What if, instead of simply kicking away the trash and grimly jogging on, you — and millions around the world — retrieved it? What if that action was part of a global campaign that infuses our deadly waste with a transformational intention to reclaim it from the waters and return it to use in our lives?

And, what if those shoes on your feet were made from that very same ocean plastic?

That’s the visionary idea behind Parley for the Oceans.

FOUNDED BY ACTIVIST DESIGNER CYRILL GUTSCH, THE ORGANIZATION — BUILT AROUND THE INSIGHT THAT CREATIVITY CATALYZES CHANGE FASTER THAN AWARENESS ALONE — LAUNCHED A HISTORIC EARTH DAY PARTNERSHIP with Adidas that saw every Major League Soccer team don jerseys constructed with Parley materials that upcycle ocean plastic. There are running shoes made in the same way, too — including a Stella McCartney trainer — and a women’s yoga gear line called Wanderlust.

Why merch instead of public service announcements?

For Gutsch, the answer is simple. Not only is collaboration more powerful than flogging a message solo — it’s more productive, too.

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