Nike debuts a new recycled material that it calls Flyleather, that makes its sneakers 50% more sustainable. The Swoosh looks to increase sustainability and reduce waste by using the discarded leather leftovers from floors of tanneries, ultimately turning them into fiber to present what we know today as Flyleather. Nike’s latest creation is geared to be 40% lighter, use 90% less water and be five times more durable, just to name a few important factors.
During a typical leather manufacturing process, up to 30 percent of a cow’s hide is discarded and often ends up in a landfill. To reduce this waste, Nike gathers the discarded leather scrap from the floor of tanneries and turns them into fibers. Then, those recycled leather fibers are combined with synthetic fibers and a fabric infrastructure via a hydro process with a force that’s so strong it fuses everything into one material. The material then goes through a finishing process, which can include things like pigmentation, and is completed by being put on a roll to be cut.
But it’s not just that Flyleather is better for the planet—it’s also 40 percent lighter and five times more durable than your average sneaker leather (based on abrasion testing, which sees essentially how much rubbing a fabric can withstand before tearing). In theory, that would mean Nike sneakers made with Flyleather should last longer and perform better than standard versions out today.
The very first product to feature Nike Flyleather is the Nike Flyleather Tennis Classic, a distinctive, all-white version of the premium court shoe. The Nike Flyleather Tennis Classic is available on nike.com and at the Nike SoHo store, NikeLab 21 Mercer and Dover Street Market in New York City for $85 USD.
all images courtesy of Nike