Some innovations are big and brash like electric cars, re-usable rockets, and supersonic jets. Then there are advances that are less noticeable but impressive all the same. Think of things like faster microprocessors, safer car tire compounds, and Nike’s new, more sustainable Flyleather.
This fresh new technology from the sneaker giant looks and feels just like leather but is different in some fundamental ways. Flyleather starts its life as the scrap pieces that leather-makers toss when cutting a new hide. After being collected, those pieces are ground down to a fine dust and then mixed with a polyester fabric in water. The resulting paste is then bonded to a heavy fabric. The final product looks like leather but is half as light as normal cowhide, stronger, and much more sustainable. According to Nike, this process uses 90-precent less water and has an 80-percent lower carbon footprint than other leather processes. The Swoosh is planning on using this new material on their Tennis Classic as well as on their Air Force 1, Cortez, Air Max, and Jordan 1.