Nike Creates “Low Carbon Footprint” Vegan Sneakers Using Waste

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Nike is the latest multinational brand to take on sustainable sneakers, unveiling their new “Space Hippie” sneaker collection that will debut this Spring. The collection will feature a range of vegan-friendly sneakers made using recycled waste, including plastic bottles and textile factory waste such as t-shirts and yarn scraps. 

Announcing a new collection of eco-friendly plant-based sneakers for this Spring, the world’s most famous multinational sportswear brand Nike will be making a range of sneakers using recycled eco-friendly materials and waste. Dubbed the Space Hippie Collection, Nike will debut 4 new styles of vegan-friendly sneakers featuring 85% recycled flyknit upper parts made from recycled plastic bottles, t-shirts and yarn scraps from factory waste. Touted as their “lowest carbon footprint” collection to date, the cushioning of the Space Hippie sneakers uses 15% grind rubber and 100% reprocessed foam materials that generates half of the carbon emissions compared to Nike’s conventional sneaker foams

Commenting on the new collection, Nike’s chief design officer John Hoke said in a statement: “Space Hippie product presents itself as an artifact from nature…It is about figuring out how to make the most with the least material, the least energy, and the least carbon.”

The new range, which will be available this coming spring for Nike members in SNKRS and SNEAKERS, some flagship locations and select retailers, is a part of the brand’s wider sustainability initiative. Called their “Move to Zero” campaign, the company is looking at achieving the goal of both zero carbon and zero waste, as well as introducing more “sustainable” materials across their production line and supply chain. 

“We believe the future for [our] products will be circular. 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,” said Nike’s vice president of sustainable innovation Seana Hannah. 

While our individual choices to avoid purchasing unnecessary products altogether in order to drive down demand for continuous large-scale production is the best option for the planet, as even products made from recycled and upcycled generates inevitable waste and emissions, Nike’s launch of sustainable vegan footwear signals a significant change in the industry. 

It follows similar moves made by rival sportswear giant Adidas, pledging to use recycled polyester and plastic waste for over 50% of their products this year. Adidas’ subsidiary brand, Reebok, also announced their green initiative plans, which include making a new petroleum-free, vegan and plant-based sneaker dubbed the Forever Floatride GROW.  

It is clear that brands are now accommodating consumer demand for more eco-friendly alternatives, given the shocking figures of the waste, pollution and emissions that the fashion industry is responsible for. According to the Ellen McArthur Foundation and the United Nations FAO, producing fashion products–footwear, clothing, accessories–accounts for a whopping 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions and leads to a truckload of textile waste being landfilled every single second.

The wave of global sportswear and fashion labels joining the eco-friendly and plant-based trend is showing no signs of stopping, and with Nike on board to cater to the growing demographic of green shoppers, it looks like the industry is set for a huge explosion in sustainable innovation ahead.


Lead image courtesy of Nike.


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