10th October 2017

Nike races ahead with recycled leather

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Nike has revealed its latest green product – Flyleather – a sustainable leather material which contains at least 50 per cent recycled leather fibre.

The product, which has an 80 per cent lower carbon footprint than traditional leather manufacturing, follows the success of its Flyknit process, which allows synthetic yarn to be woven into the shoe uppers.

It is claimed the product is 40 per cent lighter and five times as durable as traditional leather, yet looks and feels just like premium leather.

Usually up to 30 per cent of a cow’s hide is discarded during a leather manufacturing process but Nike collects the discarded leather scrap from the floors of tanneries and turns them into fibres.

These are then combined with synthetic fibres and fabric through an intense hydro process that fuses everything into one material. The material then undergoes a finishing process and is completed by being put on a roll to be cut.

Hannah Jones, chief sustainability officer and VP of the Innovation Accelerator at Nike, said: “The earth is the athlete’s biggest playground, so one of our greatest opportunities is to create breakthrough products while protecting our planet.

“Nike Flyleather is an important step toward ensuring athletes always have a place to enjoy sport.”

Nike worked with E-Leather, which pioneered the process, to develop the new material. The process to produce Flyleather also uses 90 per cent less water than traditional leather manufacturing. And because Nike Flyleather is produced on a roll, it improves cutting efficiency and creates less waste.

The first product to feature Nike Flyleather is the Nike Flyleather Tennis Classic, an all-white version of the premium court shoe.