Growing up in New York, “Harlems”–the nickname for Air Force 1s-were my favorite shoe. Then came the AirMax 95s. I had them in both the male and female colorways. And of course, Jordans. But as I hit adulthood, I fell in love with Nike Dunks which are traditionally skater shoes. When I got married, I got rid of most of my sneaker collection. Pregnancy caused my feet to grow and my style changed a bit. But now? I’m back into sneakers and I couldn’t help but notice that Nike has pieces made from recycled materials part of their sustainability line.

And that makes my green sneakerhead heart so happy!

Nike X Sustainability

Because of the growing popularity of greenwashing within brands, I wasn’t sure what to expect but I headed over to the sustainability section of their website and dug a little deeper. They’re working to move to be a zero-carbon AND zero waste company. There are a couple of different aspects to their sustainability movement.


The materials in shoes and clothing account for more than 70% of their product’s carbon footprint so naturally, this is an important starting point. In order to tackle this, they began focusing on what materials they could upcycle and reuse. Nike has created a couple of different new materials based on reusing what’s out there. There’s Nike Flyknit that has an average of 60% less waste and every upper party of the shoe is made with 6-7 plastic bottles. Nike Flyleather is created by binding at least 50% of recycled leather fibers with synthetic fibers using a water-powered process. Then there’s Nike Air. All of the Nike Air soles are created using a minimum of 50% recycled manufacturing waste.

Utilizing sustainably sourced and recycled materials not only makes a big impact on the environment but also the amount of waste created. The recycled polyester is made from plastic bottles that have been cleaned and then spun into yarn. Doing this diverts about a billion plastic bottles annually from landfills and oceans.

Paying Attention to Climate Change and Sports

This is probably self-serving because if there aren’t sports, they lose their clientele. However, Nike has been taking deep dives into how the climate is affecting their number one customer: people who play sports–especially outdoors. If it’s too hot outside, athletes can’t work out, practice, or exercise for as long as they once have. They’ve committed to climate action today so that they can give athletes a better future. Check out their article about this here: Move to Zero

Nike Refurbished

Yes, friends, you can get more than just your tech investments refurbished. Nike Refurbished is dedicated to extending the life of eligible products. Important to note: not all shoes are eligible for this program. In order to be refurbished, the shoes need to either be like-new, gently worn, or simply cosmetically flawed. Each shoe will then go through a cleaning and sanitation process before being refurbished by hand and sold for a discounted price.

All of these feed into what Nike refers to as Circularity–essentially creating products that last longer with higher quality and better materials.

My Favorite Pieces Made With Sustainable Materials

The best part about this sustainable movement is that we can look great while supporting a brand that is supporting the earth. Here are some of my favorite pieces here:

Nike Air Force 1 Crater

I love that bigger brands like Nike are realizing that if we don’t take care of the Earth, their will be no need for their products.

Which of these looks could you see yourself rocking?