Nike’s Next% line gave us the fastest marathon sneakers on the planet, and now it’s applying the same approach to sustainability as it does speed.
The new Zoom Alphafly Next Nature is being touted as Nike’s most sustainable performance sneaker yet with more than 50-percent recycled content by weight. It’s essentially a redo of the Air Zoom Alphafly Next%, which Eliud Kipchoge wore for the world’s first (unofficial) sub-two-hour marathon, but using circular design principles.
Nike’s use of recycled materials is visualized through a midsole made with overt craters instead of a smooth finish. The ZoomX cushioning utilizes “at least” 70-percent recycled foam, while the outsole is partially composed of Nike Grind Rubber (“at least” 10 percent in the medial heel and forefoot and “at least” 9 percent in the lateral heel).
Breaking it down further — The lightweight ZoomX foam has been one of the most crucial elements for shaving seconds off of marathon times, but sustainably sourced performance doesn’t end there.
More than 50-percent recycled carbon fiber is used for the FlyPlate that helps maximize energy return, while the Air Zoom pods are made of an unspecified amount of recycled TPU. For the upper, 3D-printed FlyPrint with “at least” 20-percent recycled TPU is combined with 45-percent recycled polyester Flyknit in a process that brings down total waste by 60 percent.
Coming in fully recycled is the PEBA sockliner, as well as woven labels and laces sourced from non-virgin polyester. Nike also sought to reduce waste by reconfiguring more efficient patterns — and it just so happens that the spiraling knit upper and 8-bit like Swoosh are also super appealing.
Nike is not yet letting go of a release date for the Zoom Alphafly Next Nature, but when it does arrive expect it to fly like all of Nike’s top-line marathon kicks. The brand says its athletes have logged more than 400 miles while wear testing the shoes, and runners should be clamoring to see how it compares to the baseline Air Zoom Alphafly Next%.