As athletes grace the podiums of the Tokyo Olympics, Nike has made sure Team USA has the easiest transition from competition to the medal stand all while being eco-friendly. The global sportswear brand introduced a sustainable version of the Nike Glide FlyEase Premium made with at least 20% recycled material by weight and repurposed factory scraps in time for the Games.
This laceless model utilizes the hands-free FlyEase design, allowing wearers to step into the shoe and secure its fit with little effort by having the flexible heel collapse and snap back into place. There’s no need to bend down and tie any laces.
Donning Team USA colors, a large Swoosh across the top, and “FlyEase” branding along the elastic secure cord, the Nike Glide FlyEase Premium also features the brand’s circular repeating Swoosh logo indicating that the silhouette was designed with sustainability in mind. The shoe’s cushioning system is recycled using remolded foam from factory floor scraps for the midsole, and recycled ZoomX foam for the cushioning right under your foot. The responsive and comfortable ZoomX foam is used in the standard Glide FlyEase model as well as performance models like the Vaporfly Elite and 4%.
The outsole’s traction is made with recycled rubber also sourced from the factory floor, and the inner sockliner uses recycled ZoomX foam for additional cushioning as well. Additionally, the shoe’s lightweight upper, including the breathable mesh overlays, are also made with recycled materials (although the source of these materials are not known).
The choice for using the Nike Glide FlyEase model as a podium shoe is all about time – or the little amount of it athletes have after their event for ceremony preparations. “The world’s greatest athletes don’t have much time to get from their event to the medal stand. Still in the zone and surging with adrenaline, the last thing they want to do is tie another pair of shoes,” the brand says in the shoe description.
The move to a sustainable version is not done as a singular project but one in line with the Swoosh’s overall Move to Zero initiative and journey towards zero carbon and zero waste. Nike SB used recycled polyester to construct the Piet Parra-designed national kits for the first-ever Olympic skateboarders. The company’s goal is to use as much recycled materials as possible without compromising on performance, durability and style.
The Nike FlyEase technology was introduced in 2015 after designer Tobie Hatfield spent three years designing a shoe system addressing the needs for Special Olympians, Paralympians, and everyday wearers, like teenager Matthew Walzer, who are faced with physical challenges while living with cerebral palsy. As the brand states, “If you have a body, you are an athlete,” and FlyEase’s easy-entry design, also applied to models like the VaporMax and Air Max 90, is meant to provide benefits to all athletes.
In other footwear news, Louis Vuitton just premiered its first unisex and most sustainable sneaker to date.