As the sneaker world marches towards tech integration, Nike’s upcoming ISPA Link explores a new path forward. Presenting as the baby of a futuristic basketball and hiking shoe, the design will surely polarise the masses. However, it’s the attention paid to lifespan and sustainability that has caught our attention.
What makes this creation noteworthy is that the entire sneaker has been constructed without glue. It’s pieced together by several interlocking components and uses tension to keep it from coming apart. Traditionally, designers use glue and other bonding elements to achieve optimal flexibility and durability. Yet, this makes it nearly impossible to disassemble and recycle the shoe, requiring a shredding process that is energy-intensive and limits how recycled materials can be used. Creating a sneaker that can be taken apart reduces its carbon footprint and could open up new possibilities for its lifecycle.
“Designed in partnership with engineering, digital product creation and development, these shoes are completely informed by method of make — it really is a case of form following function,” says Darryl Matthews, VP, Catalyst Footwear Product Design. “Our hope is that these ideas and aesthetics become normalized, accelerating our ability to imagine how shoes will continue to evolve in the future.”
While we can’t speak from first-hand experience, Nike assures customers that the ISPA Link is incredibly comfortable. Featuring a thick foam insole and a higher rise upper, it aims to give users a bootie-like grip with a cushioned walking experience. Launching tomorrow on June 22, curious sneakerheads can purchase a pair from Nike for USD$225 in numerous colourways including Barley/Desert Moss and Black/Medium Olive.