Nike Forward advances apparel creation with an all-new material

Climate change has the ability to affect all facets of our lives, and our physical condition is no exception. With fewer and fewer training environments available, it is important to try to reevaluate our habits to preserve and protect our Earth.

Sure, small changes on an individual level can help, but when a big brand puts sustainability front and center, the impact can be more of a home run – and that’s exactly what Nike is aiming for with its latest innovation.

Nike Forward takes a revolutionary approach to creating apparel with a significantly reduced carbon footprint. Using punching machines in an effort to produce premium, sustainability-conscious products, this latest material could radically reshape the way our favorite fitness apparel comes to life.

“We believe this platform has the potential to reset the way we think about materials and apparel,” said Aaron Heiser, vice president of Global Apparel Product Merchandising. “This is Nike’s biggest textile innovation since Dri-Fit 30 years ago and has enormous potential to transform the industry in the same way Air and Flyknit did for Nike footwear.

What is Nike Forward?

The fibers in Nike Forward are transformed directly into textiles through an ultra-futuristic and reductionist needling process, similar to the needlings used in the automotive and medical spaces. This practice, which Nike has spent more than five years researching and developing, reduces the number of steps required to achieve the final product. Fewer steps means less energy consumption – the carbon footprint of Nike Forward shows an average reduction of 75% compared to traditional knitted fleece.

Nike Forward has a lighter density than traditional fleece, which also helps reduce the environmental impact of the material. The lightweight nature allows the Nike Forward collection to utilize multiple ultra-thin layers to achieve a variety of functions like warmth or softness. According to the brand, the inaugural collection will feature a Therma-FIT ADV layer for added warmth without unnecessary weight, just in time for the fall training circuits.

What are the sustainable characteristics of this brand new material?

Outside of the revolutionary manufacturing process, the Nike Forward collection also highlights the brand’s focus on durability through the use of raw-edged pockets, exposed seams and other intentional design choices. The inaugural collection will also forego any embellishments such as zippers, clasps or additional trimmings to allow for easier recycling processes in the future.

While the first Nike Forward pieces will be made of 70% recycled content by weight using the same recycled polyester featured in all of the brand’s offerings, Nike says the original materials could potentially include industrial and post waste. -consumption in the future.


product image of the nike crew neck sweatshirt


Which parts will be available (and when)?

For the first iteration of the Nike Forward line, innovation will rely on a somewhat timeless style. Nike Forward will debut two of the brand’s most beloved sports-inspired silhouettes: the iconic gray Hoodie and Crew sweatshirt styles. Nike adds that while the inaugural collection is limited at the moment, there are plenty of opportunities to include the material in future offerings, much like how Flyknit started with just two shoe silhouettes and is now widespread on flats. -forms of brand shoes and clothing.

The Nike Forward Hoodie and Crew styles are set to release worldwide on September 15. Mark your calendars because it looks like the fitness apparel industry is set for a real revolution later this month.


Darryl A. Chapin