Nike Calls For Climate Action With Sustainable Athleisure

Ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Games, Nike has unveiled a breakthrough innovation for the athletes competing in the hottest Games on record, which includes footwear designed to provide runners with a measurable performance benefit for a new era of competition. 

The sportswear brand went eco-friendly by debuting progressive new collections made out of sustainable materials for all athletes. As the growing climate emergency continues to disrupt competition and training, Nike’s sustainable innovations signal the brand’s commitment to helping protect the future of the planet – and, consequently, the future of sports. Highlights include the brand’s most sustainably designed medal stand uniform in Team USA history, progressive advances in track and field kits and lifestyle apparel that embraces the goal of a zero-carbon future.

“At Nike, we see sport’s greatest stage as our biggest opportunity to show the world what’s possible,” said Nike’s President and CEO John Donahoe in a statement. “After all, what’s at stake isn’t just records, but the future of sport itself. In Tokyo, we’ll help the world’s best reach new levels of performance with our revolutionary platform while sharing real solutions for the barriers all athletes face under rapidly changing climate conditions.”

Alongside athleisure, one of Nike’s latest additions is the Space Hippies footwear, coming out later this year. The collection is constructed by transforming scrap material from factory floors – what Nike’s design teams have called “space junk” – into a radical expression of circular design. Every detail of the four initial Space Hippie silhouettes, from material choices to methods of make and packaging, was chosen with consideration for its environmental impact.

With this collection, the urgency of climate change is met by a bold step to reimagine solutions to critical environmental problems. The result? The creation of footwear with the brand’s lowest carbon footprint scores ever.

"Space Hippie product presents itself as an artefact from the future. It's avant-garde; it's rebelliously optimistic," said John Hoke, Nike Chief Design Officer, in a recent statement. "Space Hippie is also an idea. It is about figuring out how to make the most with the least material, the least energy and the least carbon."

Space Hippie needs to be considered as an example of advancing human potential. New benchmarks in the use of recycled content can only set a new bar for responsible design. “Space Hippie is about doing better for today, setting the stage for a stronger tomorrow. It drives a new vision for how things are made, used and, ultimately, reused,” explained the brand.

"We believe the future for product will be circular," added Seana Hannah, VP, Sustainable Innovation. "We must think about the entire process: how we design it, how we make it, how we use it, how we reuse it and how we cut out waste at every step. These are the fundamentals of a circular mindset that inform best practices."

This is definitely a big step in the right direction for a brand as popular as Nike who, only last year, created the Circularity: Guiding the Future of Design manual. Comprised of a guide and a workbook, its aim is to share principles that support a universal call to action for the industry by detailing the principles that manufacturers need to address in order to create products that eliminate waste and avoid negative environmental impact. 

“We have an obligation to consider the complete design solution, inclusive of how we source it, make it, use it, return it, and, ultimately, how we reimagine it, “ explained John Hoke, Nike's Chief Design Officer. “By focusing on progress and not perfection and by making better choices, we embrace the chance to reconsider our craft in hope that it forms a groundswell of change.”

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