We’ve already seen a few exciting, genre-breaking releases from Nike ISPA. Last year, there was the ISPA Link with its bubbly interlocking modules, followed by the ISPA Sense with its recycled materials upper.
The latest from this philosophy is the ISPA MindBody. At first glance, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d suddenly entered a post-apocalyptic zombie world where shoes are cobbled together with whatever scraps of fabric you have laying around. It’s a bold look. But when finished in the earthy tones of “Olive Grey”, the MindBody actually looks very wearable. And no, I don’t mean with your apocalyptic tonal tunic.
The reason behind that aesthetic (beyond just being a style choice) is that the ISPA MindBody is constructed with interlocking components that are stitched together, instead of the conventional gluing. With just a single cording system, the shoes are easily disassembled, ripped apart into their constituent parts, and ultimately, recycled. It’s a circular system that’s designed with product end-of-life in mind. When you’ve worn them out (too many moments of outrunning zombies?), drop them off at a participating Nike store and they’ll be given a new life through donation or recycling.
Following on from the ISPA Sense model released last year, the MindBody uses more Flyknit throughout the shoe. Not only is the upper constructed from the light and airy material, but so is the interior footbed. And to make you feel more comfy as you relax into these cushioned kicks, the Flyknit is made from recycled yarns.
The product description on Nike.com gets pretty deep: “This chapter of ISPA products explores two sustainable design solutions to help make the world a better place. We’re taking an environmental approach with circularity, and a human-centred approach with connectivity. The MindBody design is guided by these principles, using product disassembly and proprioception (the awareness of how your body moves throughout space and interacts with your environment) to take you into the next evolution of footwear design.”
Finding solutions sometimes means breaking the mold. When faced with the climate crisis, a seemingly impossible amount of waste, and a planet on its knees, conventions aren’t good enough. In fact, it’s conventions that got us here in the first place. Nike ISPA offers a different philosophy; a way of thinking that intends to make the connection between consumer, product, and natural world, deeper. Through its pillars of Improvise, Scavenge, Protect and Adapt, it attempts to create a sneaker that challenges the traditions of footwear.
The first drop of this new model arrives in “Olive Grey”, but keep your eyes out for a brighter, more vibrant colorway called “Barely Volt” coming in the next couple months. This option is reported to have been made with Living Ink, the biomaterials company that uses algae ink as an alternative to petroleum-derived inks.
The Nike ISPA MindBody will be available February 24 at 15:00 on the U.S. Nike website, and in other markets around the same time. And, in other forward-thinking footwear news, 3D-printing sneaker innovator Zellerfeld has opened its platform to brands and designers looking to expand their design and production horizons.