Nike steps up efforts to make more eco-friendly sneakers and apparel

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.

Drawing on a mix of activewear and footwear, Nike reimagines new and classic silhouettes in a way that aligns with its enduring missions. By reusing polyester, nylon and cotton fibers, the brand is able to keep these materials out of landfills and back into the market.

Sneakers galore — The Swoosh unveiled that Nike Air would be the third largest sports company if it were a standalone company. But since that will never happen, Nike is upgrading the existing line to have a more durable lens, skipping the Space Hippie eco-friendly sneakers. When it comes to the Air Max, specifically the 90, 95 and 97, the upper DNA of the silhouettes includes more synthetic leather and recycled polyester. As for the Air Max 2021, Air Max Dawn and Air Max Motif, these will now be created with at least 20% recycled materials by weight.

Classic models, however, also join the sustainability initiative, including the Waffle One Crater, Blazer Mid ’77 and Dunk Low, all under the ‘Next Nature’ label. Wrapping up the shoes, the Sun Club Pack includes 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 pattern of 20% recycled materials by weight.

A Man’s Trash — At the base of the garments 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 waterproof. The Windrunner Jacket, for example, is made with at least 75% recycled TPU using recycled Nike shoe airbags, virgin TPU and Nike Grind chips.

For pieces that perform better, every item in the Tech Pack and Nike Pro collections includes at least 50% recyclable or organic content. Most Nike Pro options, including the ever-popular women’s short iterations, are made with at least 50% recycled polyester. To create the colors of the overalls and woven pants, the brand has implemented a dyeing method that uses fewer chemicals.

With sustainability concerns at the forefront of fashion these days, it’s nice to see Nike’s actions align with their promises to improve the industry. There’s still work to be done, no doubt, but it’s another step in the right direction to achieve sustainability.


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