Adidas is shutting down two cutting-edge footwear factories in Germany and the United States and moving production to Asia.
The German sportswear maker announced this week that it would be closing plants near Ansbach, Germany, and Atlanta, Georgia. The facilities, which Adidas calls “Speedfactories,” use automated tech to produce sneakers.
Adidas had hoped to bring shoe production closer to consumers and cut shipping emissions, but is now choosing to deploy its Speedfactory technology to two suppliers in Vietnam and China.
“More than 90% of our products are manufactured in Asia. It makes more sense to concentrate the production of the Speedfactories where the know how and the suppliers are located,” said spokesperson Claudia Lange.
“This is less due to financial reasons [and more for] organizational reasons,” Lange told CNN Business.
Adidas (ADDDF) had planned a global network of automated production that would bring sneaker output closer to its major markets, allowing it to respond to consumer demand more quickly while reducing its environmental impact.
Some of that mission was accomplished.
The Speedfactories “have been instrumental in furthering our manufacturing innovation,” Martin Shankland, Adidas’ head of global operations, said in a statement.
The company said that production at the two existing Speedfactories, which were targeting 1 million pairs of shoes between them annually, will come to an end by April 2020 at the latest.
“We produce more than 400 million pairs of shoes per year, so the decision will not have a significant impact on our carbon footprint and we will continue our efforts to actively reduce our carbon footprint as a company,” Lange said.
When deployed elsewhere, the technology will continue to enable short production times and the production of other types of footwear, not only running shoes, Adidas said.
The company said it will continue its collaboration with Oechsler, the operator of both Speedfactories, in the area of 4D printing.
“In the future, Adidas will concentrate its resources and capacities even more on modernizing its other suppliers and using 4D technology in footwear production,” it said.