Sustainability and sneaker culture have never meshed all that well. That’s not to say there haven’t been plenty of successful “eco-friendly” kicks. Veja, the low-key trainer brand beloved by Meghan Markle and [checks notes] Rick Owens, makes no secret of its ethically-sourced, organically-grown materials. Adidas, meanwhile, has been crafting shoes using recycled ocean waste through its Parley program for half a decade now. And if you’ve ever listened to any podcast ever, then you already know plenty about Allbirds’ low carbon footprint. All of those shoes have their audiences, but there’s a distinct difference between a best-selling sneaker and a hot sneaker—those Tree Runners you bought your dad for Father’s Day aren’t exactly moving the needle on StockX, after all. That’s all about to change this week, however, when Nike throws its hat into the sustainable sneaker ring with its long-awaited Space Hippie line—a quartet of brand-new silhouettes that have already generated boatloads of hype.
Space Hippie purports to be the Swoosh’s lowest carbon footprint models ever, by taking a page out of the trash tee playbook and making use of assembly line waste wherever possible. The Flyknit uppers are woven using at least 85% rPoly, a proprietary fabric made from recycled plastic bottles and leftover T-shirt yarns. Down below, the speckled outsoles comprise 15% ground-up surplus materials from other Nike products, and they surround a cushioning base built entirely from repurposed Nike ZoomX foam scraps. All of that adds up to a total of at least 50% recycled materials per sneaker by weight.
course, none of that eco-conscious construction really matters unless the shoes themselves look good enough to cop and wear—and thankfully, Nike delivered on that front as well. The low-cut 01 and 04 (the latter of which is dropping exclusively in women’s sizes) both loosely resemble what might be the most coveted sneaker of the last decade: Tom Sachs’s Nike Mars Yard. The 02—as seen in our photos—is a sleek, laceless, no-frills mid-top, while the 03 is an all-frills high-top that looks like if a K’nex set had a baby with Marty McFly’s Air Mags. All four have the deconstructed, rough-hewn finishing that made both the Mars Yard and Virgil Abloh’s “The Ten” collabs so hotly desirable, and the Air Max 90 ‘Infrared’-esque colorway ensures they’ll look righteous with all your summer fits.
According to Nike, the Space Hippie collection marks just one tiny step in the brand’s long-term efforts to achieve waste-free carbon neutrality. Will the rest of the sneaker world fall in line and start working in earnest toward a more sustainable future? It’s too early to tell. One thing that’s abundantly clear, however: these kicks are gonna move fast. If you want ‘em, set your alarms now for this Friday, July 3 at 10 AM ET, when all four Space Hippie models land via Nike’s SNKRS app.
Credit: GQ – Click here to view the article
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