Having already previewed two plant-based versions of the adidas Gazelle back in September, Sean Wotherspoon – the planet-focused designer and co-founder of MNTGE – now seems to have another Earth-friendlier version of the Three Stripes classic on the way.
Where the two previous iterations of Wotherspoon Gazelle were described as taking hemp and a non-specific “mushroom leather” for their base and accenting materials, this latest update – which is set to be released tomorrow, 13th October – is, much more specifically, constructed from Mylo™.
An alternative leather created by Bolt Threads, Mylo™ is a mycellium-based material, which – in case you’ve heard the term bandied around but aren’t exactly sure what it describes – means that it’s made from the “underground root structure” of mushrooms, rather than the overground part that you might more instantly recognize as fungi.
“I wanted people to ask that question and dig deeper into alt materials. I’ve been a huge fan of what Bolt Threads has been doing with Mycelium and thought they would be a great partner to help shed light on the mushroom leather industry.” – Sean Wotherspoon
Interestingly, given that this third example of plant-based sneaker design is actually the only one thus far to hit the market, it could well mean that the two versions we’ve previously seen are also crafted from Mylo™ and that “mushroom leather” was simply a placeholder. It would certainly make sense, given that this isn’t the first time an adidas sneaker has appeared in Mylo™ form – but, of course, that’s just speculation for now. Until the other variations appear for sale, we’re really just guessing.
What’s also interesting, though, is that – beyond a slight change in colorway, arriving now in a combination of light pink, orange and sky blue – the other main deviation is that the shoe seems to have ditched its tongue-in-cheek trefoil “hemp” tag. Based on looks alone, this seems to be a design choice rather than a materials one: it seems unlikely that the hemp stitching and upper elements have been replaced with another material at the last minute.
Of course, it’s possible they’ve been switched for cotton – but that would be a downgrade in terms of sustainability – a decision that doesn’t quite fit with the ethos of the shoe, or with Wotherspoon’s general approach to planet-friendlier design.
“The Gazelle is a Classic: I love them, a lot of other people love them, and it’s a daily basic shoe, so was easy to execute with the Mylo™.” – Sean Wotherspoon
While the adidas website has precious little to say about the shoe – officially dubbed the “SEAN WOTHERSPOON’S MYLO™ SNEAKER HAS ITS MYCELIUM ROOTS IN AN ADIDAS CLASSIC” – we do know plenty about the material already. We know, for example, that Mylo™ is a fast-growing, low-impact material. And we know that it’s made without animal-derived elements or, equally important, any form of plastic. (Although the question of whether adidas has added some for good measure, however counterintuitive that might seem, is another thing entirely.)
These few questions aside, what we have here is what the footwear industry needs more of: a mainstay sneaker – a classic, even – reworked in Earth-friendlier materials. Not a brand new silhouette or a sub-line sneaker given second billing, but a marquee piece of footwear vested with verifiable eco credentials, produced by a household name that consumers trust.
Priced at $180 USD, the SW GAZELLE INDOOR MYLO releases October 13th, available exclusively via the adidas CONFIRMED app.