Nike knows leather sneakers are a dime a dozen, so the sports apparel behemoth went ahead and elevated the game by inventing a new and improved material called “Flyleather.”
Flyleather, which will first be available on the Nike Tennis Classics seen here, is up to 40 times lighter than traditional leather and is even five times stronger, based on abrasion testing, according to Nike.
What’s more, this performance-friendly material is utterly eco-friendly: it uses up 90 percent less water than most leather-making processes, and its carbon footprint is reduced by 80 percent.
Nike explains how it made this possible.
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.
Nike is able to alter leather by manipulating fibers, in the way it did with traditional knit to create “Flyknit.”
Try for yourself. The Nike Flyleather Tennis Classic is now available on nike.com and at select Nike stores in New York City. But wait, there’s more!
Cortez, Jordan 1, and Tennis Classic— that are made in Oregon and will be seen in New York during Climate Week NYC. Click on each entry to learn more about how you can enter to win one of these special-edition shoes.
By Thomas Freeman