adidas To Create Fully Automated Local Shoe Factories by 2016

Needles to say, I’m hyped to hear that adidas is making moves to produce footwear locally, and the idea of setting up some type of automated process sounds super interesting also. Whether they plan to produce the above sneaker, which is made from recycled ocean waste, at these factories is unclear. Either way it’s a great step, in the right direction.

Eric Liedtke, head of global brand at adidas, spoke from the UN headquarters in NYC yesterday to discuss their upcoming collaboration between themselves and Parley for the Oceans, which focuses on using recycled ocean waste in sneaker production. He also covered their plans to create fully automated, ‘Speed Factories’ in Detroit by 2017. They plan to opening up a ‘Speed Factory’ in Germany first, just by the adidas headquarters in 2016, and depending on how well that does they’ll create another in Detroit.

It’s a ballsy move. Setting up a fully automated factory is going to be tricky, as their planning on doing some complex constructions. They’ll be creating their newer performance sneakers in these factories, things like PrimeKnit & Boost (which they’ve already figured out how to automate), however the tricky part, Liedtke says, will be actually be putting the shoes together. Currently they’re talking with the Bavarian government and automobile manufacturers in Germany to leverage the power of robotic arms to enable them to make the transition.

Honestly it’s great to see adi move more in their own lane and not get caught up in their usual battles with their other main competitor in Oregon. Local production, if done correctly will bring them so many more options from a design and business perspective, not to mention from an environmental one.

“We’re going to take some risks. If we’re going to fail, we’re going to fail fast. Then we’re going to get up and try something new,” Liedtke said. “We’re not fucking around.”


via – SoleCollector



Mr. Bailey

Product Designer + Footwear Architect | Founder of @ConceptKicks |

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