Saturday, April 23, 2016

Oh, patents! Nike’s FlyKnit climate tech

 Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Flyknit is Nike’s climate shoe tech! After Nike’s many revolutions in cushioning soles, Nike's Flyknit uppers are a revolution in sustainable manufacturing processes in a bid to reduce the company's overall emissions of CO2 by 20% per unit [ Nike (1)]

 FlyKnit is micro-engineered knitting, where the types of yarn and the knit or stitches can be changed and adapted for each type of shoe and sport. Thus, for example, you will find Nike flyknit  running shoes, soccer cleats, and basketball hi- and lo- tops. Each upper is knitted separately as a single seamless piece with exactly the right amount of yarn, which means  no leftovers from any materials that are otherwise templated and cut-out of a sheet. 

Indeed, since 2012, when Flyknit became available for the general public, Nike production claims to have reduced its waste by an estimated 2 million pounds (i.e.; the weight equal to three 600-passenger-seat jets!) [Nike (2)]. Nike FLyknit Lunar 1 running shoes are also claimed to have reduced waste by 80% compared to other Nike running shoes [Nike (3)], all of which epitomizes the company's general reduce waste targets [Nike (4)]

In addition to transforming shoe manufacturing into greener, more sustainable, maker-oriented  and customizable processes, Flyknit also offers all the athletic-based performance advantages of being unbelievably light (the Nike Flyknit Racer shoe upper weighs 1.2 ounces or 34 grams) breathable, form-fitting (sock-like) and supportive in all the right places as it is engineered -- at no extra weight -- with Nike’s flywire technology too! [Kinitting Industry]

Nike’s Flyknit climate technology is also a highly patented technology at the intersection of programming, engineering, and design.There are an estimated 500 Nike patents disclosing flyknit climate technology, whether it is, for example:
  •  the industrial processes invoked in producing a seamless knitted “bootie” (US20150342284,  US20150342285, US20150342286) or the flatknit technology (US20080110048)
  • the technology invoked in making the flyknit materials water-repellent  (US20150237948)
  • the technology to combine tensile flywire ribs with flyknit (US20160090670)
  • the knitting process for a monofilament heel and body (US20160058099)
  • the knitting process to incorporate an ankle cuff, 
  • the computerized design tools that enable virtual 3D prototyping of the flyknit uppers (WO2015200320)  to avoid costly single run prototype
  • the knitting process to incorporate the tongue with the rest of the upper (US20150216257)
  • the technology that connects the flyknit upper to the rest of the shoe (US20150208753) 
  • the knitting of the knitted component (US20150272261)
  • the incorporation of tensile threads to adjust auxetics - the perpendicular resistance of threads (US20160058098)
  • the technology for obtaining the brilliant “lenticular” visual effect of different color, depending on the angle from which you look at the flyknit upper (US20160088894)
  • plus, many, many more patented details.
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      So, if you are looking for climate tech sports shoes, loaded with patented technologies --not only on the soles of your feet -- but for the uppers too, then check out Nike flyknit models! There are walking, running, cross-training, soccer cleats and basketball lo- and hi-top flyknits -- in dazzling colors too!

References   
Nike (1) Nike energy cut targets
Nike (2) Innovations
Nike (3) Nike Flyknit More haste, Less waste
Nike (4) Reduce waste
Knitting industry - FlyKnit a seamlessly knitted running shoe

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