As reported by Wired, Adidas’ first American Speedfactory is set to open in Atlanta by the “end of the year,” which means that the footwear giant will officially be making a (small) share of their footwear in the United States.
Built to manufacture some of the most technologically advanced footwear in the brand’s catalog, the highly sophisticated factory will bring 160 new jobs to the Atlanta area and is set to produce about 500,000 pairs annually, production that will primarily be handled by robots and overseen by those aforementioned 160 individuals.
While a successful iteration of their Speedfactory already exists in Germany, this will be the brand’s first foray into the US-made sneaker market, currently dominated by New Balance, and, well, basically no one else.
The goal of the new factory, the story says, is to offer highly customizable sneaker options — including a range “ostensibly tailored to the needs of specific cities” — that can be delivered in Amazon-like timeframes to the US market, albeit with a hefty price tag (around $260 a pair).
These factories are impressive on a few fronts — their proximity to market cuts down on shipping pollution, they’ll most likely be incorporating some of Adidas’ sustainable materials into designs (because narratives), and they’ll both excite the President (jobs!) and terrify him (robots!). But, the story notes, there’s really no incentive for them to back all the way out of a historically suspect sneaker supply chain just yet.
Still, as Amazon ramps up its “on-demand apparel production,” and consumers become more aware of the environmental costs associated with the industry, Adidas’ “push toward sustainability, robotics, and personalized goods… is encouraging consumers not only to consider where their shoes come from but also to pay a premium for the origin story.”
And if that catches on, it wouldn’t be surprising to see quite a few more Speedfactories in the US in the not-so-distant future.
You can read more about it at Wired.