Nike Forward is the design innovation putting the planet first

The world’s biggest athletics brand has revolutionised sustainably-minded innovation.

As part of its mission to serve the future of athletes and sports, Nike has been injecting sustainable practices into its operations and products for over 30 years. Innovations like Nike Air, Flyknit, Flyleather, Space Hippie and Next Nature have each set new aesthetic and performance standards for sustainable design and become icons in their own right.

But this September, the world’s biggest athletics brand is taking its sustainability efforts to new heights with Forward – arguably its most significant apparel innovation in 30 years – that Nike believes will change the future of apparel design and production.

For more fashion news, shoots, articles and features, head to our Fashion section.

So what exactly is Nike Forward? It is not a specific product, but rather a game-changing material and innovation platform that connects multiple thin layers of textiles using a needle punching process that entangles them to create an end textile. Built on over five years of research and development, Nike Forward has been purpose-built to promote circularity and reduce environmental impact.

In fact, due to its use of recycled materials, lower process energy use, and lower material density, the Nike Forward material reduces the carbon footprint by an average of 75 per cent when used instead of traditional fleece material to make an apparel product.*

The manufacturing process also requires fewer steps than that of traditional knit or woven materials. The result? A lightweight, breathable hoodie that will still keep you toasty on a chilly winter’s walk.

The first iteration of products made with Forward is two timeless pieces in a classic grey shade – a lightweight but warm crew and hoodie that are sure to serve as staples in your wardrobe.

Plus, both are manufactured with no water in the dying or finishing process. The first products utilising this new innovative material are also made with at least 70 per cent recycled content (we love to see it).

But, as we all know, the environmental impact of our fashion choices extends past the store where we purchase them. Overwashing our garments can add to our carbon footprint, and neglecting them can result in more clothing ending up in landfill after pilling or losing its shape.

That’s why Nike recommends washing your Nike Forward Hoodie or Crew every five wears (yep, this isn’t a wear-it-and-wash-it type jumper), only wash it in cold water, and hang it up to air dry. If you stick to this, you’ll minimise your environmental impact and ensure your beloved new item is kept in top shape for years to come. It may also be beneficial to invest in a fabric shaver for when pilling does occur.

As with Nike’s other innovations, the first Forward pieces have been carefully crafted to be stylish, durable and most importantly, comfortable. It’s not bulky and takes time to break in, like any good pair of shoes or a stiff new shirt. But once it does, expect an (almost) seamless, sculptural fit with raw cut pockets.

While Forward presents today as a hoodie and crew, it has the capacity to gain a wider presence across the brand in the future as part of Nike’s drive to serve the future of athletes, sport and the planet. It serves as a true sportswear uniform and is already slated to become a staple among athletes and regular shoppers across the globe.

*The carbon footprint of Nike Forward material is based on a cradle-to-gate assessment reviewed by PRé Sustainability BV Trims and other minor components are excluded from the results.

The Nike Forward Hoodie and Nike Forward Crew are available now from, from $150 – $170 AUD. To discover more about Nike’s sustainability initiatives, head here.

About the author


Leave a Comment