Having been teased for a few months now, Nike has finally unveiled its new Plant Cork Pack.
Starring iconic models like the Air Force 1, Blazer, Air Max 90, and Air Max 95, each shoe is made with at least 20% recycled content by weight, and features cork-infused outsoles and plant-based dyes.
In Nike’s “Behind the Design” editorial piece, the brand states that its design team started with a blank canvas of lower-impact materials that are both recycled and synthetic. For instance, the Blazer is 100% recycled canvas, while the two Air Max models are 100% recycled denim and mesh.
All uppers sit atop a rubber-infused cork sole unit. This cork is either recycled from the wine industry or harvested by stripping bark through a process that does not harm the tree and allows 100% regeneration. Furthermore, Nike’s responsible cork is also applied to various components of the different sneakers, like the Swoosh, heel and tongue.
After Nike’s design team established the respective blank canvases, it then moved to adding color. Each shoe is dedicated to a particular plant, and brought to life through embroidered botanical designs, scientific infographics, and dyes sourced directly from the plants themselves.
You can see that each sneaker features a unique plant embroidery, including the catechu Blazer, the indigo Blazer, and the pomegranate AF1. These embroideries denote the plants that were used to create the unique colorway.
When it came to indigo, Nike used fermented leaves and stems. For pomegranate, it boiled the fruit rinds into a liquid that created a vibrant yellow. And with catechu, it comes from boiling heartwood.
Dohnn Ball, a member of the Plant Cork Pack team, put it all in simple terms. “Flowers are processed into a dye and give off a color. On each shoe we are highlighting a plant, and whatever color that plant is processed into is the accent colour on that shoe.”
The two Air Max models on the other hand are seen with an embroidery that calls to the cork oak tree. It’s unclear if this is a nod to the various cork-infused elements, or if it was also used in the dying process.
The finishing details include scientific infographics, like the “Fig #.” designation next to the plant drawings, and a description of the plants (this is only seen on the heel of the Blazer and AF1 however). Lastly, each shoe comes with recycled laces and insoles.
Nike’s Plant Cork Pack is currently available in different regions around the globe, including Indonesia. There’s no word on a North American or European release as of yet, but we’re told it’ll be sold in these locations soon. Also, there’s been rumors of a number of other models joining the Pack, including the Air Max 97, so be on the lookout for those pairs as well.
In other footwear news, adidas recently reimagined its Lucas Puig skate sneaker with recycled Parley plastic.