There is no denying the fact that fast fashion is destroying our planet.

This rapidly growing industry generates one hundred million tonnes of waste every year.

It is accountable for a total of four percent of greenhouse gas emissions.

Since sportswear brands use super stretchable materials such as polyester and nylon, they are major contributors to the waste produced by fast fashion industries.

Many big sportswear brands have come under fire for using petroleum and plastic-derived fabrics in their clothing items. 

Adidas is one of those companies that has been around since world war I.

The brand has always believed in producing clothes and footwear sewn to meet the needs of sportsmen.

Today the brand has over two thousand stores operating globally, and in 2021, the brand made sales of over twenty-one billion euros. 

The brand has the slogan “Impossible Is Nothing,” but does the brand truly believe in it? Where most sportswear brands are fast fashion, has Adidas made the impossible possible?

Is Adidas fast fashion or sustainable?

Let’s find out. 

Adidas produces a wide range of clothes and shoes every year.

The question is, what type of material do they use to make them?

Adidas apparel is made mostly with cotton, polyester, and nylon. 

The brand ensures that all this cotton is sustainable. As for polyester, the brand has taken certain measures to reduce the production of virgin polyester.

The brand has started a program called “Made to be Remade,” which urges people to give their old clothes to Adidas instead of throwing them away. 

Adidas uses these clothes to make new ones. In 2021, half of the brand’s clothing contained recycled polyester. By 2024, it aims to make it one hundred percent.

In 2015, Adidas formed a partnership with Parley For The Oceans, an organization that aims for a plastic-free ocean.

Parley removes plastic from the shores, and then Adidas converts that useless plastic bottle into shoes.

To check out the intriguing shoe collection, click here

Although these programs deserve a lot of praise, the truth is that even recycled polyester is harmful.

Every time a piece of clothing made with polyester is washed, it releases plastic microfibers that pollute the ocean and kill underwater animals and plants. 

Besides this “Made to Remade” program is limited only to the United States. That with the fact that people are too lazy to send old clothes back makes it less efficient.

Adidas’s environmental impact is also enormous, and although it is taking steps to reduce its carbon footprint, the brand has a long journey ahead.

The mass production of clothes using unsustainable materials, long working hours, and low wages for the employees in the supply chain is enough to prove that Adidas is a fast-fashion brand. 


The mass production of clothes using unsustainable materials, long working hours, and low wages for the employees in the supply chain is enough to prove that Adidas is a fast-fashion brand. 


Adidas claims that it is calculating the impact of its offices and supply chain on the environment and has set science-based decarbonization targets. By 2030, the brand aims to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of its value chain by thirty percent. 

The brand has also introduced programs to reduce plastic waste from the sea shores by transforming it into shoes. It also aims to produce its clothes with one hundred percent recycled polyester.

Adidas provides information about its first and second-tier suppliers. But it has been called out numerous times for giving unfair wages to the employees. Despite the pressure from NGOs, the brand has not revealed how much the poor factory workers are paid for working tirelessly. 

 Adidas’ policies regarding animals are not so ethical. Although the brand does not abuse rabbits and exotic animals for their fur and skin, it still uses down feathers and kangaroo leather. 

The animal welfare organizations are urging Adidas to stop these practices as it results in injuries to ducks and mass killing of Kangaroos.

Adidas is making positive changes in its policies, but at the end of the day, it is still a fast-fashion brand. So until it gets rid of that label, it can not be called an ethical brand.


Many big sportswear brands make their items in sweatshops located in third-world countries. In 2012, Adidas landed a golden chance to become the official partner of the Olympic Games, but during the same year, the brand came under fire for using sweatshops. 

Research on the brand’s supply chain revealed four countries where employees worked in terrible conditions for bare minimum wages. Those countries were China, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines. 

The interviews with Adidas’ factory workers disclosed that due to low wages, most of them worked overtime to make the ends meet. Since these laborers had families, they often skipped meals to ensure they had enough money to take food back home. Due to extreme working hours and lack of food, employees fainted on the job.

These workers were not given the security of a job. They could be fired anytime, keeping them from protesting or saying no to workload. The most inhumane part is that these workers needed the consent of their supervisors to use the lavatory. These supervisors would often abuse them verbally or physically.

With the passing years, Adidas is improving its supply chain practices and strives to provide fair wages to factory workers. According to the 2021-2022 report of Know the chain, Adidas ranks second. 

This means Adidas provides clear information about its first and second-tier suppliers and reveals the recruitment policies of the brand for factory workers. The brand now allows the laborers to make unions and talk freely about their problems. 

In short, Adidas has used sweatshops in the past, but the brand is now more cautious and taking corrective measures. The brand still needs to come up with proof that the employees in supply are getting fair wages. 

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