Nike‘s Air VaporMax has become increasingly popular since its initial launch in 2017. Adaptions have given us the Utility model, OFF-WHITE branded takes have hit the shelves but the one thing that has remained consistent throughout these designs is the iconic VaporMax sole.
Loved by sneaker fans and fashion enthusiasts, the innovative sole system is truly one of a kind. The team at Nike have shared exactly how they are made, releasing a 10-step illustration of the process, the production of the sole unit is another push for the company to become more sustainable.
According to the sportswear company, the Air soles are constructed of 75 percent recycled material and are made exclusively at the “Air Manufacturing Innovation Plants” located in Oregon and St. Louis.
The process begins with two sheets of thermoplastic polyurethane being fed into a thermoforming machine. The heating system warms the sheets to a specific temperature so that clamps can be set in place. Clamping creates moulds which offer a guide for the shape of the Air units. Trimming down the moulds forms the recognisable shape that becomes more apparent after an edge cleanup process. Pressurised nitrogen is then injected into the moulds to inflate the Air bags that make up the sole system. The soles are then inspected carefully before being sent off to Nike factories to be paired with a number of different upper models.
Sustainability then becomes the focus when 90 percent of the excess scrap from the moulds is then broken down and reused.