While the only way to be truly sustainable is to stop making new products altogether, Nike is at least taking steps to make its new lines better for the planet.
Set on a mix of sportswear and footwear, Nike is reimagining new and classic silhouettes in a way that aligns with its sustainable missions. By reusing polyester, nylon, and cotton fibers, the brand is able to keep those materials out of landfills and back into the market.
Sneakers galore — The Swoosh revealed that Nike Air would be the third-largest athletic company if it was a standalone venture. But since that’ll never happen, Nike is improving the existing line to have a more sustainable lens, leaping off the eco-friendly Space Hippie sneakers. In terms of Air Maxes, specifically the 90, 95, and 97, the silhouettes’ upper DNA includes more synthetic leather and recycled polyester. As for the Air Max 2021, Air Max Dawn, and Air Max Motif, those will now be created with at least 20 percent recycled material by weight.
Classic models, however, are also joining in the sustainability initiative, including the Waffle One Crater, Blazer Mid ‘77, and Dunk Low, all under a “Next Nature” label. To wrap up the footwear is the Sun Club Pack, complete with the Air Max Pre-Day, Blazer Low ‘77 NN, Air Force 1 LV8 NN, and Court Vision Lo NN. Each of the aforementioned silhouettes also follows the 20 percent recycled material content by weight model.
One man’s trash — At the foundation of the apparel is a process that turns manufacturing waste like TPU, a plastic material that can be hardened or softened depending on its use, into canvas, fleece, and rain jacket materials. The Windrunner jacket, for example, is made with at least 75 percent recycled TPU by way of recycled Nike footwear Airbags, virgin TPU, and Nike Grind chips.
For more performance-based pieces, each item in the Tech Pack and Nike Pro collections includes at least 50 percent recyclable or organic content. Most of the Nike Pro options, including the ever-popular women’s short iterations, are made with at least 50 percent recycled polyester. To create the colors seen in the woven overalls and pants, the brand implemented a dyeing method that used fewer chemicals.
With sustainability concerns at the forefront of fashion these days, it’s nice to see Nike’s actions aligning with its promises to make the industry better. There’s still work to be done, without a doubt, but it’s another step in the right direction to get sustainability right.