Nike has recently introduced the ISPA Link Axis, marking its first venture into the realm of fully circular footwear. This innovative shoe is designed to be entirely recyclable, utilizing interlocking components, minimal materials, and zero glue in its construction.
The Anatomy of the Link Axis
The shoe features a 100% recycled polyester Flyknit upper, precisely engineered to fit over the outsole. This is a departure from the traditional cut-and-sew method Nike has used in the past. The shoe also incorporates 100% recycled TPU tooling, achieved by repurposing scrap airbag material. Additionally, a 20% recycled TPU cage is included, balancing the need for durability and traction with the desire to use recycled content.
ISPA: The Team Behind the Innovation
The ISPA Link Axis is the brainchild of Nike’s ISPA team, which stands for Improvise, Scavenge, Protect, Adapt. This design philosophy encourages creators to experiment, break molds, and reimagine products. The ISPA team’s efforts have brought Nike closer to achieving its vision of a closed-loop system that produces no waste, thereby contributing to environmental conservation and the future of sports.
A Long-Standing Commitment to Sustainability
For over three decades, Nike has been committed to designing products that serve both the athlete and the planet. The company has previously introduced lower-impact materials like Nike Grind and Nike Air, and has also created performance footwear and lifestyle silhouettes that leverage recycled content. As the climate crisis intensifies, Nike has shifted its focus towards embracing circular design principles as creative accelerants.
The Circular Design Principle of “Disassembly”
One of the key features of the Link Axis is its focus on the circular design principle of “disassembly.” This means that the shoe can be easily taken apart to recycle its components. Traditional shoe designs often use glue and other bonding elements, making them nearly impossible to disassemble and recycle without an energy-intensive shredding process. The Link Axis, however, is designed to be disassembled, reducing its carbon footprint and opening up new possibilities for its life cycle.
Availability and Color Options
The ISPA Link Axis will be available starting September 12 on SNKRS, featuring a Total Orange and Sonic Yellow colorway, which is a nod to the first Link Axis prototype.