A group of campaigning runners have published an open letter to German sports brand Adidas in reaction to the brand’s release of a new shoe designed specifically for one race day.
Adidas announced the Adizero Adios Pro Evo 1 just prior to the Berlin Marathon where Tigst Assefa would go on to wear a version of the shoe while setting an absolutely blistering 2:11:53 race, shattering the world record by more than two minutes.
But the shoe has faced criticism from some sectors. One running media title described it as having “all the durability of a Styrofoam cup”, while the Green Runners, a running club dedicated to ecological campaigning, have accused the company of environmental neglect.
“A shoe designed to last one marathon race. Is this the ultimate in single-use madness?” state the group in an open letter to the CEO of Adidas. “For many years people have campaigned against single use plastics. And slowly, too slowly, Governments are paying heed […] but who would have thought that a major sports brand would have the audacity to market a single use running shoe? We didn’t.”
Only 521 pairs of the Adizero Adio Pro Evo 1 have been produced so far and it’s already sold out – that’s despite its hefty £400 price tag. In the product listing on the Adidas web store, it’s described as being “designed specifically for race day, with the purpose to race at your fastest – one race, all in.”
The Green Runners, who were shortlisted for the BBC’s Green Sport Awards last month, state that this creates a “new normal” and that it promotes an “acceptance that people shouldn’t expect to get many miles out of their running shoes.”
We reached out to Adidas to ask for a response to the open letter.
“The adidas adizero adios Pro Evo 1 is designed with one purpose in mind, to deliver our best performing materials and technologies on race day in our lightest ever long-distance shoe,” said a spokesperson for the brand. “We’ve tested the shoe with a range of athletes across different distances, and whilst its [sic] not designed with the same longevity as others in our adizero range we, and our athlete partners, are confident in the performance.”