nike new collab - rare nike shoes

The Secret Ingredient In Nike’s New Collab

When the biggest manufacturer of rare sneakers announces a major collaboration project with one of the biggest music stars in the world, typically that is the headline.

However, when it comes to the third Nike x Billie Eilish collaboration, as has been the case with her first two collabs, there is a focus not just on brand cross-pollination but also practising what both the singer and the company have been preaching.

The first collaboration with an Air Force 1 High silhouette used synthetic leather, whilst the follow-up AF1 Low was made primarily from recycled material.

For the third collaboration using the legendary Air Alpha Force ‘88 design, Nike and Billie are taking sustainability a step further, with much more of the shoe being either recycled or made from sustainable, less polluting materials.

This includes at least a quarter of the whole shoe being made from recycled material, including the lining, sock liner, front strap, eye stays and some of the upper part of the shoe.

However, the most interesting part is the use of algae ink thanks to a collaboration with LivingInk as opposed to carbon black ink.

By-products of a process that creates blue food colouring are used to create a biologically-based black pigment which, due to the carbon-capturing nature of algae, makes it carbon negative at scale without displacing traditional food crops in the way some bio-based products can.

Due to its formulation, it can be used with standard textile inking machines, so outside of buying this ink instead of carbon black, Nike do not need to do very much alteration to their standard manufacturing system to get these environmental benefits.

So whilst the new sneaker had an expectation to sell significantly thanks to the names involved, its most sustainable production might be its most lingering legacy, and it will be interesting to see if other companies follow suit.

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