Sustainable creation and design has been on Nike’s radar for decades. I mean, we’ve only got one Planet Earth, right? We’ve gotta look after it.
The Swoosh agrees. As far back as 1983, when Nike kicked off the Reuse-A-Shoe recycling program, the Oregon-based footwear giant has had an eye on the impact its manufacturing has on the environment.
Fast forward to the mid-2000s. Nike’s Innovation Kitchen research department cooked up an initiative known as Considered, which gave birth to a line of experimental footwear designs that you might not ordinarily identify as Nike shoes.
The aim of Considered — whose creation involved sneaker industry legend Jeff Staple (of Pigeon Dunk fame) — was to create footwear that minimized environmental impact through the use of recycled materials, less toxic adhesives and glues, and product inefficiencies.
Considered was wrapped into Nike’s ACG (All Conditions Gear) outdoor gear program in 2007, and while the initiative’s name only lives on in the memories of scholars of the Swoosh, its practices continue today.
Take, for instance, Flyknit: the stretchy material used in the uppers of so many recognizable Nike silhouettes, from Air Force 1 to VaporMax. That’s a Considered byproduct which was designed to reduce the use of glues that bonded the different elements of sneakers together.
Perhaps the most attention-grabbing product from the Considered stable is the 2008 Air Jordan XXIII, the edition that bore Michael Jordan’s famed jersey number and marked the 23rd anniversary of the release of his first signature shoe in 1985. Produced under the Considered design concept, Nike’s aim was to create minimal waste during the production process and create a “sustainable template” for Jordan Brand to use for years to come.
The environmentally conscious approach has not waned over the years, even if the Considered branding has faded out of the picture. Amid a turbulent year around the world, 2020 has seen Nike unveil some immensely popular sneakers — both new silhouettes and reinventions of classics — that fit snugly under the blanket of sustainability.
Take, for instance, the Space Hippie line, which Nike brass has referred to as “an artifact from the future” and has consistently sold out on launch days. Made from materials from the Swoosh’s cutting room floor, the funky and futuristic designs prove that recycling is cool as hell.
The Air VaporMax 2020 Flyknit has also done its part for Mother Earth. Each shoe is made from at least 50 percent recycled content by weight, and incorporates a full-length VaporMax Air unit for the first time.
Now Nike is going several steps further with the launch of the Air Jordan 12 ‘Utility,’ the first time the silhouette has been given the sustainability treatment.
Arriving 8/21, the AJ 12 ‘Utility’ incorporates 3% Nike Grind materials, which are made from recycled scrap and end-of-life shoes.
Highlights in Bright Crimson add some color to the upper, which is dressed in all-black leather with nubuck mudguards.