Nike’s new Flyknit is every athlete’s dream: a shoe that has supreme durability and performance capabilities but feels as comfortable as a sock. Those traits alone make it remarkable, but the manufacturing process is even more groundbreaking: through computer-controlled weaving, the entire upper part of the shoe is knitted in a single piece that’s then attached to the sole. This method cuts labor costs and production time while increasing profit margins and customization options.
The environmentally sustainable, one-piece upper also reduces waste since multiple materials and material cuts are not necessary as in traditional shoemaking.
With the most labor-intensive steps removed–the assembly of multiple machine cut pieces–the impetus to target cheaper labor markets like those in Asia is reduced. “This is a complete game-changer,” says Charlie Denson, president of the Nike brand. “The process cuts costs so much “that eventually we could make these shoes anywhere in the world.”
Read more via Bloomberg Business Week