Nike’s new sneakers are pretty fly — and we’re not just talking about how they look. The company’s new Flyleather sneakers look good, feel great, and are less damaging to the environment.
In 2012, Nike introduced its Flyknit technology, which recycled plastic and other material into lightweight shoes, according to GQ. With Flyknit shoes, Nike aimed to make sustainable fashion functional and trendy, and it has applied that same mentality to its new Flyleather shoes, which it unveiled this week to coincide with Climate Week.
When creating Flyleather, Nike sought to reduce the amount of leather that gets wasted during the shoe manufacturing process, while maintaining the look and feel of 100% leather, according to the company.
In order to make Flyleather, Nike takes leather scraps from tanneries that would otherwise go to waste, and reduces them to fibers that it combines with a polyester blend. Then water jets essentially blast the mix with such force that the fibers merge into a sheet, Nike says.
According to Nike, Flyleather’s carbon footprint is 80% smaller than traditional leather uses only 10% of the water traditional leather uses in the production process. Flyleather shoes have half the carbon footprint of shoes made from traditional leather.
The shoes launched in New York City today as part of Climate Week, but are another step towards achieving the goal Nike set for itself earlier this year — cutting the company’s environmental footprint in half while doubling sales, Quartz reports.
The move also comes as Nike’s competitors are rushing to introduce earth-friendly shoes, including Adidas, which makes shoes made from ocean plastic and shoes that are completely biodegradable, showing that sustainability is also good business sense in 2017.
"The earth is the athlete’s biggest playground, so one of our greatest opportunities is to create breakthrough products while protecting our planet,” the company’s chief sustainability officer, Hannah Jones, said in a statement. “Nike Flyleather is an important step toward ensuring athletes always have a place to enjoy sport."
With ordinary leather, the best pieces of hide are used, and the rest thrown out. But any leftover pieces of Flyleather are put back into the scrap pile and used to make more of the innovative material, so very little gets wasted in the Flyleather shoe production process.
Reducing our carbon footprint and waste output helps protect our environment and prevent climate change. Global Citizen campaigns to save the environment, and you can take action here.