27.04.22NewsNikeISPA
ARTICLE BY Ross Dwyer
Nike ISPA Link Axis
Nike ISPA Link Axis
Nike ISPA Link Axis

Nike ISPA’s Link and Link Axis Are Made to Be Taken Apart

Nike's ISPA sub-label has a singular goal: push the envelope. ISPA stands for 'improvise, scavenge, protect adapt,' and the latest ,interpretation of that future-forward ethos is the ISPA Link Axis and the ISPA Link, two sneakers that are made to be taken apart.

Centred around the circular design principle of disassembly, both of the Link silhouettes feature a sturdy modular construction that enables them to be dismantled and recycled without sacrificing any durability. The modular construction removes the need for bonding elements like glue – which, of course, makes a shoe difficult to take apart – and it also ensures that the shoes won't need to be shredded to be recycled, saving energy and reducing the brand's overall carbon footprint.

The ISPA Link Axis, pictured above, is the ultimate realisation of this goal. It features a 100 per cent recycled polyester upper engineered to fit seamlessly over its recycled TPU tooling. On the other hand, the introductory ISPA Link (seen below) is made of three interlocking modules and features an outsole with unintrusive pegs that secure it to the upper. Neither requires any industrial heating, cooling or conveyer belt systems during construction, reducing their energy consumption even further. Their builds draw inspiration from cult favourite silhouettes like 2003's Presto Clip and 2005's Zvezdochka, one of the most unique shoes Nike have ever produced!

Nike ISPA Link
Nike ISPA Link
Nike ISPA Link

'These shoes are completely informed by the method of make — it really is a case of form following function,' said Darryl Matthews, Nike's VP of catalyst footwear product design. 'Our hope is that these ideas and aesthetics become normalized, accelerating our ability to imagine how shoes will continue to evolve in the future.'

To make this happen, Nike have announced they're expanding their in-store recycling programs and aiming to grow their recycling capabilities, though info on exactly how that second goal will be achieved has yet to be announced. 'We have a responsibility to consider the complete design solution: how we source, make, use, return and ultimately reimagine product. The goal is to make matter matter more,' says John Hoke, the brand's chief design officer.

You can expect the ISPA Link to release this May, and the ISPA Link Axis to roll out in early 2023.

If you want to get a behind-the-curtain look at the world of a Nike designer, check out our interview with Asha Harper – who worked on multiple ISPA products, the Patta x Nike Air Max 1, the sacai x Nike Cortez and much more – by clicking here.

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