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Why Nike Made a Sustainable Version of Its Ultrafast Air Zoom Alphafly Next% Running Shoe

·3 min read

Nike is giving its pinnacle marathon shoe a sustainable update.

With climate change and its impact on both the future of the planet and on sport in mind, Nike focused on reimagining its Air Zoom Alphafly Next% shoe in a manner that would reduce material waste and impact. The result is the Air Zoom Alphafly Next Nature.

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According to Nike, every Air Zoom Alphafly Next Nature component was constructed using circular design principles, material innovation and athlete input — which includes 400-plus miles of product testing — and is made with at least 50% total recycled content by weight. Because of this, Nike said the running style is its most sustainability-minded performance shoe to date.

Nikes commitment to runners is as strong today as when the first waffle sole hit the track. But innovation is no longer just about whats on a runners foot,” Nike Running senior footwear product director Rachel Bull said in a statement. “Climate change has raised the stakes. It’s impacting runners, and all athletes, around the world. We know we have a responsibility to rise to the challenge.”

Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next Nature. - Credit: Courtesy of Nike
Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next Nature. - Credit: Courtesy of Nike

Courtesy of Nike

Nike equipped the Air Zoom Alphafly Next Nature with responsive ZoomX midsole cushioning, which is made with at least 70% recycled foam, pairing it with Air Zoom Pods made partially with recycled TPU. Also, there are propulsive Flyplates underfoot, which are made with at least 50% recycled carbon fiber.

As for the uppers, they are made to be supportive and designed using Nike Flyprint, which is a 3D printed textile made with at least 20% recycled TPU, as well as Nike Flyknit, which is made with at least 45% recycled polyester. The brand said the process to make the Flyknit reduces waste by 60% compared to traditional upper fabrications.

Other sustainable features of the shoe are its outsoles, which feature a mix of higher abrasion compounds and Nike Grind Rubber, as well as woven labels and laces that are made with 100% recycled polyester and a no-sew film that is made with 50% recycled TPU.

A closeup of the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next Nature upper. - Credit: Courtesy of Nike
A closeup of the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next Nature upper. - Credit: Courtesy of Nike

Courtesy of Nike

“Athletes shouldn’t have to choose between performance and sustainability when selecting their running shoes. We know we have a responsibility to do more in service of the planet and have challenged ourselves to start with our most advanced innovation — the Alphafly,” Bull said in a statement. “Our learnings and advancements in circular design principles, waste avoidance, material innovation and pattern efficiency from making the Alphafly Next Nature will inform more models in the future.”

Nike said creating the Air Zoom Alphafly Next Nature is part of Move To Zero, the brand’s initiative to achieve zero carbon and zero waste across the company. The adjustments made in the shoe’s production, Nike said, moves it closer to its goal of diverting 100% waste from landfills and back into its extended supply chain, with at least 80% recycled back into its products and other goods by 2025.

A closeup of the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next Nature midsole. - Credit: Courtesy of Nike
A closeup of the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next Nature midsole. - Credit: Courtesy of Nike

Courtesy of Nike


The outsole of the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next Nature. - Credit: Courtesy of Nike
The outsole of the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next Nature. - Credit: Courtesy of Nike

Courtesy of Nike

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