Innovation Timeline
Download Image:
Download Image:
Download Image:
Download Image:
Download Image:
Download Image:
February 21, 2012

NIKE revolutionizes sustainability in performance product

View Gallery

Nike Better World ethos guides the creation of product for superior athletic performance and lower environmental impact.

For more than 20 years, NIKE has placed at its core a commitment to providing athletes with the most advanced product innovations. NIKE creates product to help promote superior athletic performance and lower environmental impact as part of our Nike Better World ethos. Innovation is embedded into the design and development process from the very beginning, addressing use of environmentally preferred materials, reduction of waste and eliminating toxics.

NIKE has revolutionized sustainability in performance product. NIKE’s vision is closed loop, which takes materials from an old shoe or an old shirt, grinds them up and transforms them into new products. Continuously exploring ways to incorporate sustainability has led Nike to highlight two groundbreaking innovations: NIKE Flyknit and the expanded use of recycled polyester in performance apparel.

NIKE Flyknit: NIKE debuts the NIKE Flyknit Racer and NIKE Flyknit Trainer, lightweight shoe. NIKE believes that to design for the future, we need to create products in a completely new way today. 

Our innovation is in the NIKE Flyknit manufacturing process; NIKE uses only the materials needed to knit the upper of a shoe. Traditional footwear manufacturing processes use a number of materials and cuts.  NIKE Flyknit reduces waste using special yarns, knitted together to create one lightweight, formfitting upper.

Recycled Polyester: Utilizing recycled PET plastic bottles, NIKE designs superior performance apparel. Reclaimed, discarded plastic bottles are melted down to produce new yarn and converted into fabric to create NIKE’s high performance apparel.  This process saves raw materials and reduces energy consumption by an estimated 30% compared to manufacturing virgin polyester.

This year, NIKE expands its use of this seminal technology, crafting the fabric of the Nike Hyper Elite basketball shorts from 100 percent recycled polyester, while the jersey fabric is made from approximately 96 percent recycled polyester.  The uniforms are made using an average of 22 recycled plastic bottles.  

In the global football arena, NIKE introduces national team kits made using an average of 13 recycled plastic bottles per kit: shorts fabric is made with 100 percent recycled polyester, and jersey fabric is made with approximately 96 percent recycled polyester. The creation of this year’s kit used approximately 16 million recycled plastic bottles, enough to cover 28 soccer pitches.

Additionally, uniforms in the Nike Pro TurboSpeed collection use an average of 82 percent recycled polyester fabric and up to an average of 13 recycled plastic bottles.

The principles of Nike Better World are serving the needs of the athlete and the planet at the same time.

Learn more about Nike’s Summer of Innovation products and technologies.