Nike has consistently raised the bar for sustainable footwear, and two of its upcoming sneakers, part of the company’s pursuit of a circular future, are only set to raise the bar even further.
Last week, at an event to reveal the Serena Williams Building at Nike’s global headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon, the athletics giant launched the ISPA Link and ISPA Link Axis, which were created with the end in mind. Darryl Matthews, VP of Footwear Design at Catalyst Nike, explained at the event that there are three removable components – the upper, the lace and the tooling – that are bound together by geometry.
“The idea was to eradicate the entire cementing process within the production line,” Matthews said.
Both sneakers feature interlocking modules that are connected without glue or cement and can be completely disassembled. Nike explained that having materials that can be separated at the end of use is easier to process, recycle and reuse, which facilitates the reuse of materials and components and a transition to a circular economy.
“This shoe has dramatically reduced emissions in the process, it takes eight minutes to make a shoe, there are no heat tunnels, there are no cooling tunnels, there are no glue lines. These are our first steps in understanding how we can achieve a circular process for recyclability in footwear products,” Matthews said.
Additionally, Nike explained that designing for disassembly can also reduce labor, manufacturing footprint, and carbon emissions, and can also enable future refurbishment, replacement, or replacement. customize components based on aesthetic preferences or performance requirements.
- Nike ISPA link.
Specific to the ISPA Link axis, Nike said the prototype builds on ISPA Link’s sustainable intent with the use of proprietary material innovations with recycled content. This includes 100% recycled polyester Flyknit uppers, 100% recycled TPU tooling with Nike airbag scrap materials, 20% recycled TPU cages and 10% recycled EVA insoles.
“The idea is that at the end of its life, the shoe can be separated and ground into another object or material,” Matthews said.
The Nike ISPA Link will arrive in June 2022, while the ISPA Link Axis will release in 2023.
While this is Nike’s breakthrough in design for takedown, it’s something the athletics giant has been looking to do for decades. For example, Nike created the Presto Clip in 2003 and the Zvezdochka which was designed in collaboration with Marc Newson in 2005. Nike said the ISPA team referenced both of these examples, as well as their design guide circular throughout the creative process.