Nike Flyknit - revolutionary technology improves performance and sustainability
Nike Flyknit was to become a revolutionary technology, but the original idea was centuries old. Because knitting is the basis of this new material. During development, Nike's shoe designers had two goals in mind: improving athlete performance and reducing production scrap in sports shoe manufacturing. The sustainability idea was just as important as the performance improvement of the sneaker. Both projects were successful because Flyknit has made it possible to reduce scrap by 80% compared to traditional Nike shoes. At the same time, the new knitted material improves performance in the sports sector. Last but not least, it is the design of the material that inspires sneaker lovers.
A running shoe that feels like a sock
The development of Flyknit began with the idea of creating a running shoe that felt like a sock. It should firmly enclose the foot, but not restrict its natural movement. Nevertheless, the material should be hard-wearing and durable. This has been made possible by an ancient human achievement, the production of fabrics by knitting.
There have been similar attempts several times in Nike's development history, but Flyknit brings this idea to perfection.
As early as the 1980s, Nike began manufacturing ultra-light, adaptable mesh materials. Nike produced a shoe called Sock Racer from a cuddly mesh material. But this shoe had the problem that the material was not robust and durable enough.
In 2008, Nike approached the idea of optimally fitting the upper to the foot with the patented Nike Flywire technology. This technology is now used in many Nike running shoes; it is a weave of ribbons that allows the lacing to fit the foot perfectly.
The Nike designers worked on the development of the Flyknit upper material for a long time. A whole team of designers, engineers and programmers dedicated themselves to this task. The idea of knitting the shoe had been around for quite some time. For the prototype, a knitting machine for sweaters and socks was first reworked.
The new material was launched on the market in 2012 and the result has convinced professionals and recreational athletes to this day. The upper shoe feels as comfortable and flexible as a sock, but at the same time gives the foot the best possible support and strength. The knitting material is not the same everywhere, because of different densities the best possible performance for the runner is achieved. The amount of waste could actually be reduced by up to 80%, and the goal of producing more sustainable shoes was also achieved with Nike Flyknit.
Sneaker with Nike Flyknit Technology
One of the first Flyknit sneakers was the Nike Lunar Flyknit Trainer HTM, which was released in February 2012. Almost simultaneously, Nike launched the Nike Flyknit Racer. Only a few months later, in July 2012, the Nike Flyknit Trainer and the Nike Lunar Flyknit HTM NRG appeared. With the Nike Free Flyknit in August 2013, Nike made the breakthrough. The combination of the flexible Free sole and the Flyknit upper material was simply perfect. With this shoe, it really felt like walking barefoot. In addition to the Nike Flyknit Air Max in 2014, numerous Nike shoe models with Flyknit have been released so far. The material is still present in Nike's collections today and its popularity continues unabated.