For starters, why would I want to dissolve a pair of trainers in my sink?
You know – when you’re ready to chuck them out. Put them in the regular rubbish and they’ll most likely end up in a landfill somewhere, stinking up the environment until the plastics in them break down thousands of years later. But with the Adidas Futurecraft Biofabric, that won’t be an issue.
Explain, please. Are they made of cotton or something?
With uppers as thin as that? It wouldn’t be strong enough. Nope, these are synthetic spider silk sneakers, created from a biodegradable material called Biosteel. As the name suggests, it’s high in tensile strength, which makes it the ideal basis for not only a breathable, flexible woven upper but the sole too.
Biosteel is created in a lab by fermenting genetically modified bacteria and spinning the resultant material into a silk-like substance (its inventor AMSilk says this process uses far fewer resources than plastic creation). This substance can be broken back into its gooey constituents too, by sprinkling it with a bag of magic dust* that allows the whole thing dissolve in a matter of hours.
* actually an enzyme
But an athletic shoe that’s designed to fall apart? Does that sound like a wise investment?
Right now we only have Adidas’ word that the Futurecraft Biofabric is tough enough for a couple of years of punishment – but only time will tell if the firm can convince people that dissolvable apparel is the future.
Well, I’m ready to believe. When and where can I buy a pair?
Right now, these are just prototypes, but Adidas has made noises about a proper commercial launch in 2017. So stay tuned, because your next pair of trainers might just be designed to self-destruct.