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Nike Makes Good on Moving to ‘Zero’

On Monday, Nike officially became one of a growing number of brands to sell previously used product. The Nike Refurbished program, the culmination of nearly two years of “extensive research,” arrived at eight outlet stores nationwide, with plans to continue adding locations throughout the year.

This program is just one part of Nike’s larger sustainability strategy. This summer, the company plans to release a range of eco-friendly shoes that center some of its other green initiatives, namely using recycled content.

The latest summer offerings in Nike’s Move to Zero journey will include what the company calls one of its “most sustainable shoes to date.” The Air VaporMax 2021, made with at least 55 percent recycled content by weight, features a full-length VaporMax Nike Air unit made with about 75 percent recycled materials, TPU on the heel clip and toe tip containing about 60 percent recycled materials and an outsole incorporating Nike’s recycled Grind material.

The Plant Cork Pack draws its inspiration from the natural world. Each shoe is made with about 20 percent recycled content. Specifically, the outsoles of the Air Force 1, Blazer and Daybreak include 9 percent recycled cork—partially sourced from the wine industry—infused in the rubber.

Nike's summer lineup includes a Blazer with a cork-infused outsole
Nike’s summer lineup includes a Blazer with a cork-infused outsole. Nike

Nike is also building off its learnings from Space Hippie with the Nike Crater Impact, a new silhouette made with about 25 percent recycled material by weight, combining efficient overlays, stitched curves and an embroidered Swoosh to help avoid waste. The soft Crater Foam midsole combines about 10 percent Nike Grind with a blend of foams.

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The company will also release new colors of Cosmic Unity, its first performance shoe made with at least 25 percent recycled material by weight. Two other performance silhouettes—the Air Zoom SuperRep 2 Next Nature and the Nike Victory G Lite—will also take on sustainability, with both made using at least 20 percent recycled material by weight.

Nike’s chief sustainability officer Noel Kinder discussed Nike’s carbon footprint Tuesday in a post on the company’s website, acknowledging it has fallen short on some of its sustainability goals, including when it comes to carbon reduction.

“So, we’re changing our approach,” Kinder wrote. “Through our 2025 carbon targets, we’re stepping up with more clarity and precision. Across the company, our teams are pulling together with surgical focus on our biggest challenges—and our biggest opportunities: sustainable materials, renewable energy, and energy efficiency.”

Over the next five years, Kinder said Nike plans to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 0.5 million tons by increasing its use of environmentally preferred materials to 50 percent of all key materials. Materials, Kinder noted, account for 70 percent of Nike’s carbon footprint.

“We’re rising to the challenge by accelerating research and development around sustainable materials, and exploring opportunities to bring low-carbon alternatives to market at scale,” Kinder added.

Other five-year goals include driving a 70 percent absolute reduction of greenhouse gas emissions across owned and operated facilities through 100 percent renewable electricity and fleet electrification, as well as keeping greenhouse gas emissions from key suppliers’ operations at or below 2020 levels while maintaining business growth.

Nike’s latest sneaker releases

Meanwhile, Nike dropped the KD14, the latest iteration of Kevin Durant’s signature franchise last week. The Brooklyn Nets star’s varied line—past silhouettes include sleek, football boot-like low tops, plush sock racers and ‘90s-style power mids—brings back an over-the-laces strap for the first time since the KD7.

Kevin Durant's KD14 reintroduces a strap for the first time since the KD7
Kevin Durant’s KD14 reintroduces a strap for the first time since the KD7. Nike

“It’s been a while since we incorporated the strap, which excites me,” Durant said in a statement. “My other favorite part about the shoe is the cushioning, which helps me feel low to the ground and still helps give me some of that energy back.”

The KD14 released in a black-and-white colorway internationally Saturday and in North America Wednesday. A white-and-lime green “Cyber” colorway debuted Sunday in Greater China.

The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38, meanwhile, began its worldwide rollout Thursday.

The running shoe introduces several updates to the Pegasus 37, including a roomier toe box; a midfoot webbing system that allows wearers to lace up to a personalized fit; a new, soft and breathable sandwich mesh material; and extra foam in the tongue.

The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38 features a roomier toe box and extra foam in the tongue
The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38 features a roomier toe box and extra foam in the tongue Nike

The sneaker keeps several features from its predecessor, including full-length Nike React foam and a forefoot Zoom Air Unit. Nike will again offer a FlyEase version with a zippered entry and no-tie lacing, allowing the wearer to secure the shoe with only one hand. The Nike By You Builder will let consumers design their own Pegasus 38—traditional or FlyEase—by adjusting arch height, traction material, laces and methods of entry.

The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38 released to Nike Members Thursday in Europe. It is slated to arrive in North America April 22 and globally April 29.

Nike updates WNBA collection

With the WNBA headed into its 25th season next month, Nike unveiled the basketball league’s all-new uniform system last week. The lineup includes three iterations for each of the organization’s 12 teams: the WNBA Nike Heroine Edition, a standard white uniform; the WNBA Nike Explorer Edition, a bolder option that “seeks out the creative margins of team identity” using a combination of secondary team colors; and the WNBA Nike Rebel Edition, a specialty uniform that “represents inspiring themes of female empowerment from [teams’] cities and their communities.”

Nike's new WNBA jersey collection includes three iterations: WNBA Nike Explorer Edition, the WNBA Nike Rebel Edition and the WNBA Nike Heroine Edition
Nike’s new WNBA jersey collection includes three iterations: the WNBA Nike Explorer Edition, the WNBA Nike Rebel Edition and the WNBA Nike Heroine Edition Nike

The new WNBA Nike uniforms feature several updates born from athlete feedback. Changes include more room in the game shorts’ thighs and glutes and across the game jersey’s chest. The jerseys offer three neckline options: a round-neck, a V-neck and a new “Victory” neckline exclusive to the WNBA. The uniforms also debut Nike Dri-Fit ADV technology—an engineered knit material designed to enable more freedom of movement and comfort—in a professional league uniform.

“When our team met with our athletes, their feedback was very clear,” Tania Flynn, Nike vice president of women’s apparel design, said in a statement. “They wanted a uniform that fits them, not one they have to fit into. They wanted a connection to their team and fans, but also wanted to express their personal style. And they wanted us to tell their story. The new uniforms obsess all of those details for the world’s best players, technically and creatively.”

Nike also unveiled the WNBA Team 13 collection for fans. The line includes popular pieces, such as the Nike WNBA pullover hoodie, as well as a new knit game jacket and pant, a reversible vest and coveralls.

The WNBA Nike Rebel Edition Uniforms became available exclusively to Nike Members last week on the company’s website and app. The WNBA Nike Explorer Edition and the WNBA Team 13 collection dropped Wednesday.