What won’t Adidas make sneakers out of? In its latest initiative to create more sustainable sneakers, Adidas, who already revealed it would produce shoes made from recycled plastic garbage removed from the ocean, announced it had developed a biodegradable sneaker using a synthetic material similar to the silk found in spider webs.

To create the new sneakers, Adidas partnered with a fellow German company AMSilk to use its Biosteel fiber. Biosteel was developed by engineers who recognized the advantageous properties of spider silk, and sought to replicate them in an environmentally sustainable way. Spider webs are both highly elastic and incredibly strong. According to AMSilk, a spider web made of fibers the same thickness as a pencil would be able to support a Boeing 747 jet weighing 380 tons. That would also be one really huge spider web.



Adidas used the Biosteel fiber in a sneaker it calls the Futurecraft Biofabric. The company said it is 15 percent lighter than traditional sneaker fibers, and is the strongest completely natural material on the market. The Biosteel is used on the upper; the midsole features Adidas’s Boost cushioning and a standard outsole. That means that while the upper may be completely biodegradable at the end of its life cycle, the bottom of the shoe will stick around a lot longer.

This is not the first product to be made with the synthetic spider silk. Last year, The North Face revealed it had created a parka out of synthetic spider silk in partnership with the Japanese company Spiber.

Justin Tejada is a writer and editor based in New York City. Follow him on Twitter at @just_tejada and Instagram at @justin_tejada.