Nike has created a material called Nike Forward that requires fewer steps than traditional Nike knits or woven, which significantly reduces the environmental impact of the material. Nike Forward is created with an average 75% carbon footprint reduction and a significantly lighter density than traditional knit fleece, and the finished product is comprised of 70% recycled content by weight.
“Nike Forward feels different because it is different. It is not a traditional knit or woven, but a completely new material that drastically reduces its carbon footprint,” said Carmen Zolman, VP of Innovation Apparel Design at Nike in a statement.
The material is the result of a five-year development process aimed at simplifying the production of fabric. Nike Forward turns fiber directly to textile through needle-punch, which greatly reduces the number of steps compared to a more traditional creation cycle that includes spinning yarn, knitting, cutting and sewing, among other steps.
Nike Forward can be made with a diverse range of layers, including using industrial and post-consumer waste, and can be precisely tuned for athletes’ needs. Additionally, the first iteration of Nike Forward products is being made without zippers, aglets or extra trims to make it easier for the garments to be recycled.
“We believe this platform has the potential to reset the way we think about material and apparel,” said Aaron Heiser, VP of Global Apparel Product Merchandising at Nike in a statement. “This is the biggest Nike apparel innovation since Dri-Fit 30 years ago and has huge potential to transform the industry in the way that Air and Flyknit did for Nike footwear.”
Clothes made with Nike Forward will debut on Sept. 15 in Hoodie and Crew styles. The first iteration of the classic grey hoodie avoids using embellishments and dyes to further minimize its environmental impact.