Nike Forward: New Fabric Reduces Carbon Footprint by 75 Percent


When you hear that Nike’s latest game-changing innovation is coming in the form of a grey hoodie, it may not seem like the greatest leap forward. But the brand believes the tech—coined Nike Forward—behind the hoodie is a very big deal.

“We believe this platform has the potential to reset the way we think about material and apparel,” says Aaron Heiser, VP of global apparel product merchandising.

Nike Forward moves the needle on sustainability

According to Nike, athletes around the world have said climate change is a barrier to sport. Part of the company’s response is Nike Forward, a new kind of material fabrication. Instead of a multi-stage process involving spinning yarn, knitting, cutting, sewing, and the like, Nike uses hacked punch-needle machines to turn fiber directly to textile. Fewer production steps means less energy use. On average, there’s a 75 percent reduction in the carbon footprint of this new material versus traditional knit fleece. In addition, the material is also less dense.

“Nike Forward feels different because it is different. It is not a traditional knit or woven, but a completely new material that drastically reduces its carbon footprint,” says Carmen Zolman, VP Innovation Apparel Design, Nike, Inc.

Woman wearing Nike Forward crew fleece

The hoodie is made of 70 percent recycled content by weight. It doesn’t have dyes or embellishments and its production uses zero water. To make them more recyclable, the first products in the line have no zippers, extra trims, or aglets (the little sheaths on the ends of drawstrings and laces).

“It’s game-changing platforms, like Nike Forward, that accelerate a culture of innovation at Nike to help protect the planet and the future of sport,” says Janett Nichol, VP of apparel innovation. Want to be one of the first to get a hold of Nike’s latest innovation? Look for new Hoodie and Crew styles, debuting globally September 15.