Nike already has other sustainable efforts, but the top sports brand will continue to develop other ways to help the planet. The Move to Zero campaign is in full swing so expect more environment-friendly products and collections will be introduced.
The last pair that made us want to really get serious with going green was the Nike Pegasus Turbo Next Nature. That pair used at least 50 percent recycled material. Now Nike is introducing a new collection of shoes and sneakers you can take apart. Meet the Nike ISPA Link, and this pair is something you can easily disassemble.
Designer: Nike ISPA
Nike ISPA stands for “Improvise; Scavenge; Protect; Adapt.” It’s a design philosophy that challenges creatives to work on designs and start experimenting and reimagining products. Nike has been aiming for a circular system that results in reduced or zero waste. The main goal is to really protect the planet and the future of sports.
The Nike ISPA Link reminds us of the Layers Module Sneakers we recently showcased. That pair is designed to be easily assembled and disassembled for easier recycling. It’s not mainly to say Nike is working on more sustainable pairs. The Nike ISPA is also designed to perform. The first two pairs from the ISPA team are the Nike ISPA and Nike ISPA Link Axis.
The initial effort of the Nike ISPA group is expected to show the capabilities and the possible future of sustainable or circular designs. The innovations are meant to push circular footwear design to respond to the climate crisis. The project results are shoes that are both durable and flexible, thanks to innovations in footwear design.
Catalyst Footwear Product Design’s VP Darryl Matthews has this to say about the Nike ISPA: “Designed in partnership with engineering, digital product creation and development, these shoes are completely informed by method of make — it is a case of form following function. We hope that these ideas and aesthetics become normalized, accelerating our ability to imagine how shoes will continue to evolve in the future.”
Nike is working hard to achieve its sustainable goals by 2025 and beyond. That’s only three years from now, but we don’t doubt it can be done. The Link and Link Axis will further expand Nike’s many efforts. The Nike ISPA won’t be the last as more innovations will be unraveled. New approaches will be discovered and implemented as Nike also works with other companies and industries. Nike Chief Design Officer John Hoke noted, “We have a responsibility to consider the complete design solution: how we source, make, use, return and ultimately reimagine product. The goal is to make matter matter more.”
Such cross-industry collaborations will result in business models that work. New infrastructures are expected to be set up to make recycling products more accessible. Nike is also investing worldwide in product take-back consumer programs. All these efforts and more are said to help advance the brand’s ability to repurpose products.
Shoe design-wise, the ISPA Link is glueless, which means the pair doesn’t need any heating or cooling processes. The three inter-locking modules of the sneakers only take eight minutes to assemble and maybe even faster to disassemble. The upper of the shoe features yarns made from different recycled materials. Pegs are found on the midsole, and they can fit the openings of the upper. As the pair near its end of life, you can simply take them apart and drop off the parts at a Nike store.
The Nike ISPA Link Axis is the bolder version. It is the upgraded pair with its 100% recycled polyester Flyknit upper. The latter fits over the outsole, so there is no need to glue or sew. In addition, the TPU tooling used here is 100 percent recycled from a scrap airbag material, while the TPU case is 20% recycled.
There really is no stopping Nike from working to achieve its numerous sustainable goals. A few years ago, Nike released its free circular design guide to help designers embrace sustainability. That Nike Playground constructed with 20,000 upcycled sneakers already made an impression. The Nike Atsuma reduces material waste by creating an interesting inverse design. There’s also the Nike SB Dunk High Cork that allows you to be eco-friendly in style.
Feel free to check out the “Plastic: Remaking Our World” exhibition at the Vitra Design Museum in Germany. Nike is participating until September 4 of this year. You will see there the design and evolutionary journey of the ISPA Link line. Learn how Nike’s approach and sustainable intent leads to innovative design.