Cosmic Unity: Behind the Design
Discover how a basketball shoe designed with at least 25% recycled material by weight is the next step in Nike's vision of a zero-waste future.
Behind The Design: Cosmic Unity
It's not about perfection; it's about progress. In the game of basketball, anything a player can do to improve, even if it's incremental, makes a difference. The Cosmic Unity is the next step in the vision of a zero-waste future. It's designed with at least 25% recycled material by weight, which doesn't seem like a lot, but our designers are committed to creating sustainable designs that get a little bit better each year. Read the story of how a little bit of trash transformed can help us take another step towards the Move to Zero, Nike's journey towards zero carbon and zero waste.
The creation of Cosmic Unity can be traced back to 2008 with the release of the Nike Zoom BB II Low 'Trash Talk'. The low-profile silhouette was Nike's introduction to the possibility of making a shoe using recycled materials without compromising performance. The Cosmic Unity dares to take this idea even further. The team made conscious decisions with sustainability in mind at every step of the process, from designers foregoing paper to sketch their ideas digitally to the production team agreeing to reduce the number of samples they requested from the factory.
Watch The Waste
Bennett Shaw, the Product Line Manager for Cosmic Unity, is a basketball enthusiast but not an expert on Nike's Move to Zero. But as he went through the development of the shoe, he started to see parallels between the game he loves and Nike's mission—the idea that you can get a little bit better every year. "We want to get better as we go on", Bennett explained. "We're committed to try to improve the amount of recycled content by 5%. With Cosmic Unity, we hit 25% by weight". To hit the magic number of 25%, the designers used a unique combination of partially recycled components and efficiently manufactured new materials. For example, about 10% Nike Grind rubber combined with new content was used to create the Crater Foam midsole. The shoe also features a layered cable system crafted with 99% recycled content, a sockliner made from recycled polyester, and the foxing uses a recycled polyurethane and polyester blend. The team also obsessed over the visual aesthetics of the shoe, making sure it looked fast, sleek and futuristic.
WNBA MVP A'ja Wilson was one of the first professional players to lace up the Cosmic Unity and take it for a ride on court. The shoe is equipped with a full-length Zoom Air Strobel, made in part with recycled TPU, and designed to keep up with every move you can imagine. The Zoom Air Strobel is a component that players with great footwork like A'ja can appreciate, but designed for all players. "I was very surprised at how light it was, and I think that's great for any player at any position", A'ja said. "I realised that the Cosmic Unity could adapt to all of my steps, my movements, and that's key. A shoe has to be able to give but not too much, but just enough where you feel quicker and faster".