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Nike debuts its first sustainable basketball shoe, Cosmic Unity

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Nike (NKE), through its Move to Zero campaign, is striving for a zero-carbon and zero-waste future. The Swoosh brand is now one step closer as it unveils Cosmic Unity, its first sustainable basketball shoe.

Ross Klein, the lead designer on the Cosmic Unity project, tells Yahoo Finance that the idea for the shoe started with a question.

“It always just starts with the question, right? Can you do it right? Can you make performance footwear, like basketball, with less impact on the world? We all, of course, said yes, because we don’t believe that there’s ever ‘no’ in any of our ability to think and push forward. So we started with ‘all right’ let’s begin to put this together. Let’s begin to sort of think about what we need to do in order to make a high-performance basketball shoe.”

Nike Cosmic Unity — NIKE
Nike Cosmic Unity — NIKE

Cosmic Unity is Nike’s first performance shoe made of at least 25% recycled content by weight, but Klein notes that it is first and foremost made for performance.

The Cosmic Unity upper features an upper cabling technology that mimics cosmic frequencies and provides dynamic forefoot support in its web network construction. The midsole features Nike’s “Crater Foam” which is made from a blend of standard Nike proprietary foams and about 10% Nike Grind Rubber which provides increased support and responsiveness. Cushioning in The midsole cushioning uses recycled foam scraps from factory floors. The folks at Nike also included A full-length Zoom Air Strobel unit stitched directly to the upper that is meant to provide energy return and bring responsiveness underfoot.

One person who knows the new Cosmic Unity well is WNBA 2020 MVP A’ja Wilson. The Las Vegas Aces forward told Yahoo Finance that the shoe is like none she’s worn before.

“When I first saw it, I loved how different it looked from any other basketball shoe. And then when you dive into really what it’s made of and everything else, how it’s good for our environment and our world, I think that’s what really stuck out to me … It’s lightweight. It’s of course going to be durable. That just checks all the marks for me.”

Wilson also likes how the Cosmic Unity holds up to the aggressive style of the WNBA.

“In our league, everything’s fast paced and crazy. So, you know, you have to be ready to move at any pace at any time to stop and go,” she said.

Wilson also says that having sustainable footwear goes hand in hand with what athletes are all about.

“I think it’s super special. I mean, as athletes, we really worry about what we put in our bodies, what we eat, and everything like that. But then we really need to think about the air that we breathe and the clothes that we may wear and how that can affect us. So when you have a shoe like this, that’s taken care of the environment and the world around you. I think that’s key because we all want to play this game for a long time and want to be on this earth for a long time. And so you want to try your best to do everything you can to help improve it.”

A’ja Wilson is not the only pro basketball player who will sport the Cosmic Unity. NBA All-Star and Lakers power forward Anthony Davis debuted the kicks during Saturday night’s game against the Boston Celtics.

The Cosmic Unity will also include matching sustainable apparel. The line includes throwback jackets, pants, shorts, and tees, made of at least 95% recycled and/or organic content.

The Cosmic Unity will retail for $150 and will release worldwide on February 26. According to Nike, it will be available in three colorways “Green Glow” on February 26, “Amalgam” on March 7, and “Space Hippie” on March 12. There will be an athlete exclusive colorway in celebration of Black History Month that can be seen on NBA courts throughout February.

Reggie Wade is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @ReggieWade.

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