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How Adidas and ThredUp are prolonging the life of shoes and apparel

The shoemaker is accepting shoes, apparel and accessories from any brand, in any condition.

Row of Adidas shoe boxes, lined up like fallen dominoes

Adidas is part of a growing list of companies that ThredUp works with on its Resale-as-a-Service program.


Shoemaker Adidas is launching its Choose to Give Back program that lets people send used products — apparel, accessories and sports gear such as running shoes and soccer jerseys — from any brand back to the company to be reused or resold on an online marketplace. The program will be supported by ​​ThredUp’s Resale-as-a-Service (RaaS) platform and expertise.

ThredUp, known as a leader in the resale space, has been building out RaaS since 2018. Its first client was clothing maker and retailer Reformation. Since then, its client list, which includes retailers and apparel manufacturers, has grown to over 20 companies. Other clients include Gap, Madewell and Abercrombie & Fitch.

"Adidas’s new program leverages the resale engine we’ve built to enable their customers to easily extend the life of their clothes," wrote Pooja Sethi, senior vice president and general manager of RaaS at ThredUp, in emailed responses to questions for this story. "Ultimately, this program is designed to extend the life of gear, grow the reuse market and end plastic waste."

We want to ensure this process is as seamless as possible before scaling up.

The program was launched Oct. 7 within the Adidas Creators Club app, which is free to join. The company plans to begin expanding the program more widely online and in stores across the United States in early 2022. It has not shared an exact date for the extended launch.

"We worked closely with the Adidas team to build a customized, scalable resale program to help their customers easily extend the life of their clothes, and we look forward to expanding the program together," Sethi said.

Here’s how the program currently works for U.S. users of the Adidas Creators Club: Through the app, they can generate a prepaid shipping label, fill a shippable box with apparel, shoes and accessories from any brand, and ship it to ThredUp for free. When ThredUp receives an item from a customer, the resale company processes, prices, photographs and lists accepted items online for resale on its online marketplace.

A screenshot of the adidas website that shows an adidas box with hands about to open it and words that read 'Choose to Give Back'

Adidas noted that customers can send in shoes, apparel and accessories, no matter the brand or condition. "Products in good condition are resold through ThredUP, while the rest will go through ThredUP’s network of textile reuse partners," explained Katja Schreiber, Adidas senior vice president of sustainability, via emailed responses to questions for this story.

Adidas rewards customers for items that meet certain quality standards. During this trial period, customers will receive up to 200 Creators Club points or Adidas vouchers based on the quantity and quality of items they return. Once a customer reaches 1,000 Creators Club points, they gain access to exclusive deals, birthday gifts and free training resources.

Adidas is using this first phase of the program rollout as a time to iron out any kinks related to the process and evaluating incentives to deliver the best experience for customers.

"We want to ensure this process is as seamless as possible before scaling up," Schreiber said. "In testing this program, we will discover the best ways to grow and promote the reuse market, with the goal of preventing some of the environmental impacts associated with making products in the first place."


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