Cool Runnings

Nike releases its new sustainable collection for Tokyo 2020, set to be the hottest Games on record

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics is going to be hot, in all senses of the word. Last year saw an average summer high of 33 degrees, 6 degrees above the 30-year norm, with ten million tourists expected to descend on Japan’s capital. Fifty-six years after organising the first Asian and live telecast Olympic Games, the sprawling metropolis has had to repeatedly rebuild portions of the city due to recurring and increasingly aggressive earthquakes, tsunamis and typhoons. Recognising that the Games are not only a sporting event, but a global platform to raise the urgency of climate action, Nike has released new sustainable collections for running, skateboarding and Team USA. The NEXT% platform, introduced by Kenyan marathoner and world-record holder Eliud Kipchoge, will also now move into new disciplines following its success in distance running.

“What’s at stake isn’t just records, but the future of sport itself”, notes Nike president and CEO John Donahoe, “In Tokyo, we’ll help the world’s best reach new levels of performance with our revolutionary platform, while sharing real solutions for the barriers all athletes face under rapidly changing climate conditions.” Below, we take a look at some of the innovative new pieces.  

Nike SB Skateboarding Kits

For the sport’s debut, Nike SB has created some incredibly playful kits together with Dutch artist Parra for Team USA, France and Brazil, designed with 100% recycled polyester and pattern efficiency for minimal waste.

Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% 

These shoes set records. Eliud Kipchoge wore a prototype version of these when he ran a 2:01:39 marathon in Vienna last year. This summer they will make their official debut, now with an updated carbon fiber plate and an ultra-breathable upper, intended to improve running economy even further.

Space Hippie

Built from transformed scrap metal from factory floors – what the design team has ‘space junk’ – these shoes are a great example of circular design. From material to production to packaging, every aspect of the capsule collection make it the brand’s lowest carbon footprint footwear to date.

Team USA Medal Stand

When Team USA (inevitably) win lots of medals, they will be wearing their most sustainably designed stand uniform. The instantly recognisable Windrunner jackets have been remade with 100% recycled polyester, while the trousers are 100% recycled nylon. Complimenting these will be the recycled-rubber Nike Grind trim and the Nike Air VaporMax 2020, built with recycled manufacturing material and precision-knit uppers for minimal waste.

Stranger Things x Nike

Nike indulges in 80s nostalgia for its unique collection with Stranger Things  

A love letter to 80s nostalgia and the films of Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and John Carpenter, Netflix’s Stranger Things is the type of television people devour in one sitting. Set in the small fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana, the award-winning show follows a group of teenagers who deal with ominous supernatural forces and heartbreak alike. Courting the right balance of sentimentality and saccharine, it has genuine heart, stunning set pieces and produces charming words of wisdom such as “Mornings are for coffee and contemplation.”

To celebrate the latest season, Nike has released a Stranger Things collection which highlights their iconic Cortez, Blazer and Tailwind trainers – a must have pairing to any power suits, shoulder pads and mullets. Launching late June, the collaboration channels the show’s fictional high school colours of green and orange and includes complimentary sweat suits and t-shirts in the style of a retro physical-education class.

Mirroring the state of flux the characters find themselves in during season three, Nike notes that: “The sporting world in 1985 was also undergoing a radical change — energy was reverberating from the summer games in Los Angeles and pro basketball was swinging firmly into its showtime era. At Nike, 1985 was the year visible Air began to take shape (realized two years later in the Air Max I) and when the iconic Dunk emerged on collegiate basketball courts. Meanwhile, the Cortez, Blazer and Tailwind remained sport and style staples, granting a timely authenticity to the Stranger Things collection.”

A second drop of shoes arrives July 1st – the “OG Pack”. Celebrating the US’ 1985 Independence Day, each shoe has a red, white and blue colour scheme. So less Stranger Things, more Cool Things. 

No.9 : Marcus Rashford

Rising star Marcus Rashford speaks to Port about the new England kit, the addictive nature of success and the importance of thinking as a team in the World Cup

An established first team player at club and national level, and only 20-years-old, Marcus Rashford is regularly talked of as having the potential to become one of the greats of his generation. Known for his quick, attacking play, his local boy, one-of-our-own status has made him a fan favourite both in Manchester – where he plays for United – and across the country.  Now he is looking to cement his place in this young and dynamic England squad and make his mark at this summer’s World Cup. Here, he talks to Port about winning trophies, playing with his heroes, and England’s new Nike kit.

Could you start off by telling us your thoughts on the new England kit and collection?

I think the collection is very well put together – it’s important to have a balance of style and comfort at all times, and they have the balance right on this one. 

The kits are the ones everybody focuses on because everyone will see them on TV but we spend a lot of time together as an England squad, so the players are always looking at all the different bits of gear – whether it’s for training, recovery, travel or just being around the hotel.

Who are some of your sporting heroes?

It was a dream to play alongside Wayne Rooney, who was a real hero of mine when I was growing up. Then there’s Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Michael Jordan.

That’s a quite a range of greats there…

Thank you

You were the youngest English player to score in a first senior international match, did that affect the way you went into future games?

No, I didn’t actually know that…

Oh you didn’t?

 No, no… 

Well now you know!

So you have had a great start to your career, and to do that you need to be confident. In your own words, what does confidence mean to you?

I think confidence is not being afraid so that you’re able to express yourself – in my case, that’s on the pitch. If you can do that, 9 times out of 10 you’ll come through it and overcome anything that comes your way. 

What activity or object inspires you to improve and keep on improving as you progress throughout your career?

Trophies. I think’s that always been the case since I was a kid. From the very beginning, you dream of winning your first trophy and when you experience the first one, you just want more and more and more. It’s addictive, so I think trophies are always going to be a big motivation for me – things that keep driving me forward.

What is it about Nike that you value?

It’s not only about the kits and collection that we wear with England but also about the boots and casual wear they bring to the table. Everything has style; everything is a little bit different. There’s always something comfortable and laidback for going to training but, and this is especially with Nike sneakers, they’re always pushing the style front as well. 

Are there any personal goals you have set yourself at the World Cup?

Yes, you’re always going to have personal aims but none of them matter if we don’t deliver our shared goals. If you hit your personal aims but you don’t have a successful World Cup, you’re not going to return home a happy person. We’re all going there with the same mindset: an attitude to do ourselves and the country proud.

nike.com

 

City Boy: Phil Foden

Port meets the rising star of British football, Phil Foden, as Nike launch a new collection designed by Kim Jones

Phil Foden may be a teenager but he has already garnered more accolades than most players could dream of. A product of Manchester City’s youth system, last month, as part of Pep Guardiola’s record-breaking title-winning side, Foden became the youngest player in history to pick up a Premier League medal. A handful of performances – notably a precociously assured display against Manchester United – have thrust the young midfielder into the spotlight. 

Foden’s breakthrough domestic season came after a special performance at the Under-17 World Cup in India last summer. He made headlines after scoring two in the final, with England coming from behind to win the trophy, beating an impressive Spain side 5-2. He would later be awarded player of the tournament, placing him in the glittering company of Cesc Fàbregas and Toni Kroos.

Passing through Foden’s hometown of Stockport on the London train to Manchester Piccadilly, the towering 55,000-seat Etihad Stadium comes into view – and Foden’s own journey, from life in the suburbs to one of the biggest stages in world football, suddenly becomes apparent. The ground stands as a marker of Manchester City’s meteoric rise to the top of the game, and it’s a trajectory Foden seems well placed to follow.

Despite the plaudits and lofty comparisons, Foden is focused on the job at hand. On a sunny day in Salford, we joined him to celebrate the launch of Kim Jones’ football-inspired collection for Nike. An avid enthusiast of the game, Jones blends football’s iconic silhouettes with the brash edginess of London’s 1970’s punk scene. Foden looks at home in it.

“It’s different from other Nike ranges,” he says, looking down at the pieces he is wearing. “It’s comfortable, and it feels nice and tight fitting, which I like.” The items are made exclusively in Italy, using only Italian materials. It’s an understated, professional, high-quality collection, befitting a model that holds the composure and confidence of a player on the cusp of success. 

“Dedication,” Foden says when asked what he attributes his accelerated progression to. “My mum and dad have helped me with moving away from my home area and getting my head down.” This dedication could just as easily be described as obsession, a mentality of focused determination that often separates top athletes from their peers. Even after a day of training, Foden’s hunger to improve isn’t sated. “When I feel like I need to do more, I’m out in my garden playing football with my brother,” he says. “I do get tired, so I try and get a decent night’s sleep – I try and rest. But, if I feel like I’ve got more energy, I go out and train.”

Foden would play football every day of the week if he could. Even when asked about his lifestyle off of the pitch, the 17-year-old answers through the lens of an all-consuming obsession. Last season, after the Under-17 Euros in Croatia, Foden visited the estate he grew up on and was inundated with youngsters wanting to play football with him. He duly started playing at 1pm and was only allowed to stop, hours later, at 9. “The next day I couldn’t walk,” he jokes.

On the occasions that Foden does switch off, he leaves the city altogether. “I try and go fishing; I find it relaxing,” he says. While others jetted off on holiday to celebrate the title triumph earlier this summer, he “went fishing, in a tent, in England.” For Foden, fishing is time spent with his father, and given the frequency with which family is mentioned when we discuss his development, it’s clear that they have been crucial in nurturing the teenager through the early stages of his career. “They helped me get where I am today, really,” Foden says. “They’ve not missed a game.” 

Few industries offer the opportunities for travel that football can. The sport is global in every sense of the word, and Foden has a long career of regular trips ahead of him. We asked where he is most looking forward to visiting. “I’ve been to a few now,” he says. “I like America, though, so hopefully I can go back there. We’re going there for preseason, actually.” The summer tour will kick off another important year in Foden’s development, and we discussed the teams he is most keen to face up against in the sky blue of City. “I liked playing against Real Madrid. I’d like to play against Barcelona, though, to see what they’re like. It’s good watching them on TV but I want to be on the pitch next time… chasing them,” he laughs.

Despite the extraordinary situation in which he finds himself, Foden is recognisably an English teenager. “I don’t know how to make toast,” he jests when asked about his ability in the kitchen, citing his mother’s steak and chips as the house’s specialty. Outside of fishing, his downtime means playing Fortnite, the wildly popular online game that has seen the likes of Dele Alli and Antoine Griezmann ape its in-game dances as goal celebrations. Asked if he’d follow suit, Foden smiles and says: “Well, if I score, yeah – why not?”. It’s a comment that evinces Foden’s sense of where his career currently stands; he’s focused on the incremental steps, quietly aware of his ability, and is taking it all in good humour. 

Before getting back to finish the shoot, we considered the expectations placed on young athletes, particularly footballers, to succeed. After years developing at one of the world’s biggest clubs, as well as representing England at every age group since Under-16, Foden is not only well-conditioned to handle it, but rejects the notion altogether. “I don’t feel the pressure,” he says. “I just feel at home. When I get on the pitch I just feel comfortable. It’s where I feel like I belong.”

Nike x Kim Jones collection available from 6th June at Nike.com

Photography Neil Bedford
Styling Rose Forde
Hair and makeup Ditte Lund Lassen using Oribe Hair Care, Eau Thermale Avène and Glossier.com

 

Nike & Stone Island: Year of the Windrunner

Joe Serino, vice president of sportswear apparel at Nike, explains why 2016 is the perfect year to launch a specialist Stone Island Windrunner collaboration

Image courtesy of Nike
Image courtesy of Nike

It’s not often that you see two technical heavyweights, such as Nike and Stone Island, combining forces. More often than not, it’s a smaller niche brand collaborating with a more well-known brand that is an expert in its field of apparel or footwear. Nike and Stone Island are equally famed for technical and innovative designs, so in the case of the collaborative Windrunner, both brands bring that knowledge and expertise to the table. The result is an even more elevated product: a classic silhouette reconstructed with the highest specifics in modern-day technology. As Joe Serino, vice president of sportswear apparel at Nike, says: “Nike’s culture thrives on collaboration.”

Nike is calling 2016 is the ‘Year of the Windrunner’, marking a celebration of its most revered piece of apparel to date; the Windrunner is a jacket that has felt the touch of gold medals and broken records alike. Since it was first manufactured and designed in the late 1970s, the Windrunner has stood the test of time and has remained largely unchanged until now, with the help of Bologna-based Stone Island. Here, we speak to Serino about the inspiration behind what is, arguably, Nike’s most technologically advanced piece of athletics apparel created to date.

Image courtesy of Nike
Image courtesy of Nike

What brought about this collaboration?

A successful collaboration should help both parties achieve something they may not have been able to on their own. We partnered with Stone Island for exactly this reason. We saw an opportunity to blend our sport style design with Stone Island’s craft, technical material development and dyeing expertise. The result is a jacket that is instantly recognisable as both Nike and Stone Island — it’s one that we believe will resonate quite well with fans of either brand.

What does the classic Windrunner jacket mean to Nike?

The Nike Windrunner is arguably our most important apparel icon. Of course, it was part of our first apparel line more than two decades ago, so there’s an element of nostalgia there. But perhaps more significant is the fact that the silhouette seems to transcend sport and style trends.

It’s been in the line off and on since its debut in the early 1980s and, in that time, it’s proven to be a worthy canvas for collaboration and material innovation. The latest examples are the Stone Island and sacai interpretations, but the Windrunner has also employed some of our leading material innovations over the years, such as Nike Tech Fleece and Nike Aeroloft. It has also appeared on the medal stand in the last two summer Olympic Games.

What do you admire about Stone Island?

The collaboration has been rather seamless, partly because we share a number of product values with Stone Island. I think the most important ones are our mutual obsession with functionality and delivering consumer benefits. We are both committed to creating apparel that performs at the highest level. Of course, it’s no secret that Stone Island is an industry leader when it comes to creating technical materials and dyeing. The way it achieves such brilliant colours through garment dyeing on its unique fabrics is quite remarkable. So we were eager to tap into that expertise, as the company has 30-plus years of knowhow in this area.

Image courtesy of Nike
Image courtesy of Nike

Did you think about creating a new silhouette as well reworking the Windrunner?

We are calling 2016 the ‘Year of the Windrunner’ to honour the rich heritage of our apparel icon. We’re also honouring track and field during what will be an important year for the sport, as the first iteration of the Windrunner was created to keep runners protected in wet climates. So currently, our focus is on this silhouette. We’re excited to work with Stone Island and sacai to kick off the celebration, and, while each partnership has resulted in a unique interpretation of the jacket, both have served to advance its legacy.

Nike aims to really push the boundaries of technical sports apparel. How far do you see that going and what can we expect from Nike this year?

I can’t speak to anything specifically that’s coming this year. But I can tell you that we will continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible. We will focus on our most iconic sport style silhouettes and create newer and better versions for today’s demanding consumer.

NikeLab was created for us to add dimension to our brand and we intend on repeatedly pursuing innovation through collaborations and debuting these products in distinct environments.

After all, when we innovate, we don’t think about limits. Nike’s culture thrives on collaboration — not only with external partners such as Stone Island, but also amongst our own community of more than 650 designers.

When you bring great minds together, creativity rules and the possibilities are endless.

The NikeLab x Stone Island Windrunner jacket is available now at select NikeLab retailers and online