Nike Embrace Circular Design with the Air VaporMax 2020 Flyknit
The Air VaporMax has been a staple among Nike's bubble-bottoms since its 2017 launch, and now the Air VaporMax 2020 is taking innovation to the next level thanks to sustainable practices and circular design. The next step in Nike's mission of sustainability, this sneaker combines progressive tech and futuristic design.
Move to Zero
Joining the Swoosh's sustainable ranks alongside the Space Hippie collection, the VaporMax 2020 is the embodiment of Nike's 'Move to Zero' program. A response to rising global temperatures, the initiative aims to move toward zero waste and zero carbon to help protect the future of sport.
From a commitment to eliminating single-use plastics at their campuses, to implementing the use of renewables, Nike are making big moves across all facets of the biz. In terms of product, this means more conscious decision-making around materials and production processes. And these changes are front-and-centre on the Air VaporMax 2020.
The denuded Air unit of the OG VaporMax blew minds and pushed boundaries back in '17, but 2020 sees Beaverton's R&D department zoom in to the micro level, looking at the silhouette through an enviromental lens.
For the Air VaporMax 2020s, it's the sustainably-minded fabrication that sets it apart. Here's what Julia Barrett, Nike's Textile Director said on the material innovations:
'My inspiration comes from looking at a process that has been set. Everybody thinks it's the most efficient way to do it; it's perfected. And then to put a whole new lens on that process that allows you to see it differently. You see the waste that comes out of it differently, and all the byproducts. It allows you to say, "Hey, hold on!"'
It's that mentality that prompted a new approach to the VaporMax's materials.
'We wanted to look at not only Nike's waste stream but other industrial waste streams and how we could leverage that content. We let that drive a lot of the decision-making,' explains Nike product design lead Jesi Small.
Take the Flyknit yarn, which is formed from 67 per cent post-industrial recycled content by weight; or the Air unit, which boasts about a whopping 75 per cent recycled material. The heel clip and sockliner similarly feature about 50 to 60 per cent upcycled post-industrial materials. These changes put into practice not only Nike's innovation in materials and construction, but also their developments in Circular Design. This method sees end-to-end consideration of the product and the environmental impact of its construction, whether through minimising waste or creating products that last longer.
And when it comes to the Air VaporMax 2020, the sustainability credientials are top notch.
Changes to the Air VaporMax go further than being more sustainable, as it's also been given a facelift on the performance side.
Most notably, the signature split sole has been stretched to a full-length Air bag, allowing for a slimmer profile and smoother ride. The waffle-pattern tread has also been swapped out for a system of interlocking pockets, pressure mapped to enhance multi-directional traction.
There's been some serious renovations up top, too. The aformentioned Flyknit brings texture and colour to the woven upper, as well as a sense of the 'perfectly imperfect' through the mismatched tones.
Finally, Nike have strived to make the Air Vapormax 2020 an everyday shoe for every ability, implementing FlyEase technology for an inclusive build. This sees traditional laces swapped out for an on-off lock-and-release system.
Representing the latest and greatest from Nike's toolbox, the Air VaporMax 2020 sets a new standard for sustainable footwear. Look for it to drop at Nike stockists from August 1.