Material Matters: Nike Space Hippie
Nike’s new Space Hippie collection is literally trash! Inspired by the notion of inhospitable life on planet Mars as an allegory for extreme global warming on Earth, the four all-new designs are the result of radical design principles meeting sustainable practices. At least 85 per cent of each shoe is made from reassembled ‘space junk’ scraps sourced from yarn waste, t-shirts, and recycled plastic water bottles.
Unlike Nike Considered, which championed similar eco-warrior vibes a decade ago, Space Hippie takes the notion of recycling away from crunchy granola and launches it into another galaxy. There’s no comforting olive and brown tones or grainy suede textures to reassure consumers that ‘green’ credentials are afoot. The colour scheme and strap-happy ensembles are unmistakeable references to the futuristic Nike Mag. Augmented with fluoro orange pops and sci-fi detailing, the overall effect is more ‘silver Tesla’ than ‘chocolate Prius’. It’s a refreshing take on how our future feet might look.
On the tech side, Nike have nerds covered with two new concepts. Tinted in a shade reminiscent of Blu Tack, the lumpalicious Crater Foam is Space Hippie’s star attraction. Recycled chunks of rubber and foam are blended into the rustic midsole, creating a ‘speckle’ effect. The second innovation is what Nike are calling ZoomX Eco, which is made from offcuts sourced from top-shelf Nike runners. Remnant material is compressed into the inner soles, while the aggressive saw-tooth midsole has been carved away to reveal a secondary layer of ZoomX Eco underneath.
Micro design details abound. The Space Hippies are far from minimal! The aglets are ingeniously made from bent-back laces sealed with a shrink-wrapped strip. Swooshes are radial-stitched into the woven uppers, while the Space Hippie bootie configuration flaunts elasticised pull straps and a complex bungee lacing system. Good luck trying to get these moon boots on your feet in a hurry!
Maybe one day we’ll all live happily in what is known as a ‘closed-loop economy’, where all waste is reused and remade into second, third and fourth generation products, but for now, at least we have these idiosyncratic Nikes to rock beneath our interstellar jumpsuits. The Space Hippies might not save the planet per se, but as an experiment in design and imagination, this is one of the coolest projects we’ve seen from Beaverton in a minute. As Nike said in their expensive and quite brilliant Space Hippie promo video, ‘They look weird because they’re made of trash!’ True dat!
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