Introducing Nike Forward – a significant apparel innovation

Athletes around the world have shared that climate change is a barrier to sport. Nike Forward, the company’s most significant apparel innovation since Dri-Fit, responds to that concern by re-setting the way we think about fleece.

Moving away from traditional knit and woven processes, Nike Forward revolutionizes apparel creation by hacking punch-needle machines for the purpose of making premium, sustainability-minded product.

“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,” said Carmen Zolman, VP Innovation Apparel Design, NIKE, Inc.

Over five years of research went into the development of Nike Forward. The innovation, shifting from knit or woven, simplifies the process of material fabrication by reducing steps. Rather than follow a multistage (spin yarn, knit, cut, sew and more) creation cycle, Nike Forward turns fibre directly to textile through needle-punch.

Fewer steps means less energy consumption, contributing to an average of 75% reduction in the carbon footprint for this first generation material compared to traditional knit fleece. Nike Forward material also has a lighter density than traditional knit fleece, which is crucial to reaching 75% carbon reduction, and the finished product is comprised of 70% recycled content by weight.

Nike Forward debuts in a beloved silhouette, the grey hoodie. In keeping with its sustainable ethos, the hoodie forgoes embellishments and dyes, favouring raw cut pockets and zero water usage.

“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,” said Janett Nichol, VP Apparel Innovation, NIKE,Inc.

Nike Forward is the latest advancement in over 30 years of sustainability-minded innovations, joining the ranks of Nike Air, Flyknit, Flyleather, Space Hippie and Next Nature. The platform is purpose-built and created for future circularity — the first iteration of Nike Forward products are made without zippers, aglets or extra trims, making it easier for the garments to be recycled. In total, Nike Forward is an unlock as we work to achieve our impact targets.

“As part of our commitment to serve athletes* by offering more sustainable options and meeting our bold, science-based impact targets, we’re introducing a material innovation that can be adapted to different lifestyle and performance purposes,” says Seana Hannah, VP Sustainable Innovation, Nike, Inc.

Nike Forward can be made with a diverse range of layers, including industrial and post-consumer waste, and can be precisely tuned for athlete needs. It is a testament to audacious imagination and hands-on experimentation with the most advanced proprietary sport science, digital tools and manufacturing techniques. Not only does it solve problems for athletes, Nike Forward continues Nike’s legacy of setting new aesthetic and performance standards for sport.

“We believe this platform has the potential to reset the way we think about material and apparel. This is the biggest Nike apparel innovation since Dri-Fit 30 years ago and has huge potential to transform the industry in the way that Air and Flyknit did for Nike footwear,” said Aaron Heiser, VP Global Apparel Product Merchandising, NIKE, Inc.

Nike Forward debuts in Hoodie and Crew styles. Releases globally September 15, 2022.

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