Nike started selling sneakers from its new Space Hippie collection this week. The footwear is constructed from factory and post-consumer waste that the sportswear company calls “space junk.”
Space Hippie consists of four different silhouettes: 01, 02, 03, and 04. Nike’s manufacturing process for the footwear uses around 85–90% recycled polyester yarn, recycled foam, and a blended “Crater foam.” The result is a design that has a low carbon footprint, the company said.
Engineered knits in the Space Hippie 02 uppers are created from “Space Waste Yarn” that Nike designer Noah Murphy-Reinhertz described as 100% recycled material including recycled plastic water bottles, T-shirts, and yarn scraps. Combined with other elements in that sneaker design, the upper is 90% recycled content by weight, he added.
“The tooling of all Space Hippie shoes, created with ‘Crater foam,’ is made with a blend of standard Nike foams and 15% Nike Grind rubber,” he explained on the company’s website. “The reduction in virgin material gives a lower carbon footprint.”
Cushioning for the Space Hippie footwear contains recycled ZoomX foam. Nike takes factory scraps from the production of the Vaporfly 4% running shoe and reprocesses that foam in a way that uses about half the carbon dioxide equivalent as typical Nike foams, Murphy-Reinhertz said.
“We believe the future for product will be circular,” Nike’s VP of sustainable innovation Seana Hannah said. “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. These are the fundamentals of a circular mindset that inform best practices.”
They’re not alone. Other footwear companies are pursuing lower carbon, more circular manufacturing processes. French sneaker brand Veja began shipping again in May and recently introduced a new line of running shoes called Condor that the company said is 53% bio-based and recycled. Last month Adidas and Allbirds teamed up to develop a sports-performance shoe with “the lowest carbon emissions.”