There is what separates the good ones from the greats—the latter seek to constantly push the human understanding of where boundaries lie. Take sporting legends for example—winning is a temporary victory, but shattering records at the same time? Now that's greatness.
Nike shares this ethos with its athletes. If you are outfitting the best that humankind has to offer, your products must do more than just keep up—they need to be ready for that next step.
Creating the next great performance shoe is more than just about incorporating the best that technology has to offer—it’s also about maximising human potential.
Herein lies Nike's next greatest project—the Space Hippie collection, the lowest carbon footprint sneaker ever made. But it’s more than just another sustainability spiel as the idea is to fuse innovation for the betterment of the Earth and the people living on it.
For the inspiration, the team of designers, led by Noah Murphy-Reinhertz, looked to NASA's in situ resource utilisation, a practice used in space exploration for using materials readily available, replacing materials that would otherwise be brought from Earth.
The truth is that resources are finite. Hence the moniker of Space Hippie, the idea of creating while living off the land in space.
But sustainability is not a new notion at Nike, which has pioneered technologies, such as Air soles that are made from 50 percent recycled manufacturing waste and the Flyknit process that produces 60 percent less waste than standard practices.
But those sustainability wins are just temporary victories. For the Space Hippie project, the team wanted to shatter records and close the loop.
"We had to go one level better, but that was really tough," says Murphy-Reinhertz, Nike’s sustainable design lead. "We had to figure out what materials went into the shoes that we could replace that had zero carbon footprint—that was trash."