Nike’s Eco-Friendly “Next Nature” Dunk and AF1 Don’t Look Sustainable, and That’s A Plus
Update (August 20, 2021): The “Next Nature” Air Force 1s have popped up on the SNKRS app for US residents, with a release date of September 2.
Original Story (August 17, 2021): Eco-friendly options for some of the most popular sneaker silhouettes often sport an out-of-the-box look, leaving many classic, everyday kicks without a place on the sustainability shelf. The use of many innovative materials often create a visual, avant-garde mark towards the future. Think new lines like Nike‘s garbage-turned-Mars explorer Space Hippie collection or remixed icons with knitted uppers and fused transparent panels. It looks like the classic, but not quite.
However, many brands have started to find a happy medium with pushing the boundaries of materiality, while staying true to the classics we originally fell in love with. Global sportswear brand adidas has taken its stab at reimagining its ever popular Stan Smith with recycled materials. Reebok‘s [REE]GROW pack traded the Club C and Classic Leather’s traditional material choices with plant-based alternatives.
Continuing its Move To Zero initiative, Nike has joined the party introducing new simple yet sleek options of eco-conscious Dunks and Air Force 1s. Tentatively dubbed the “Next Nature” pack, which currently consists of two colorways of each silhouette, the shoes don’t scream “Earth-friendly” by focusing its materials as the center of design but can actually be disguised as its non-sustainable counterparts.
The pack’s two Nike Dunks are white with differing accent colors: Sail (or off white) for one and Pale Coral for the other. Each pair features synthetic leather made from recycled polyester, and overall, are made with at least 20% recycled materials by weight. To note, some blog coverage of the shoes (SBD, a known “leaker” account that typically reports on assumptions) claim the upper material uses Nike Flyleather, the brand’s leather alternative. However, the retailer sites, including Nike Indonesia, do not mention Flyleather at all.
The insoles are highlighted in Nike’s signature Volt color and include the Nike Sunburst indicating the brand’s sustainable approach to the sneaker. The Sunburst is exclusively the Move To Zero logo and denotes sustainable product on Nike’s webstore. Additionally, the speckled outsole utilized for both Dunks suggests Nike Grind rubber is used – a visual cue often associated with the recycled material.
Similarly, rounding out the pack are two Nike Air Force 1s perfect to swap any classic Uptown for an environmentally-friendly option. A white and Pale Coral colorway carries over from the Dunk while the classic all white AF1 with silver and grey highlights is a pleasant surprise as we often don’t see sustainable versions of the sneaker outside of pairs with drastic material changes. Just like the Dunks, the Forces are each constructed using at least 20% recycled materials by weight and feature the Sunburst logo on a Volt insole.
Additionally, each sneakers’ synthetic materials, glues, and colors do not contain any detectable amounts of animal content, and therefore they may be entirely vegan (we’re checking with Nike on that).
The Nike “Next Nature” pack is a great example that it is possible to have the best of both worlds: the look of what’s widely available today with the considered approach of a sneaker made for tomorrow. Someone who loves rocking a pair of all white AF1s now has a pair to feel good about.
Expect both Nike Dunks and Air Force 1s to release regionally worldwide over the course of the year in select stores and on Nike.com. To note, the white and Sail Dunk has appeared on select Nike regional webstores in the Asia-Pacific market, while the Air Force 1 drops have popped up on the Australian e-tailer site Laced.
In other footwear news, check out adidas’s innovative new sneaker, the 4DFWD.