First introduced by Nike in February 2012, Flyknit is an innovative technology that uses high-strength fibers to create a shoe that's incredibly lightweight, breathable and supportive.
The technology was researched and developed for ten years before being unveiled in the Nike Flyknit Racer, a lightweight, form-fitting running sneaker. Flyknit sneakers feature one-piece uppers comprised of micro-engineered yarns. The manufacturing process reduces manufacturing waste and materials, when compared to the traditional cut-and-sew process.
The Flyknit Trainer soon followed. The launch of these versions spurred the expansion of the technology into the worlds of basketball, global football, golf, lifestyle and apparel.
Nike Flyknit Customized Design and Features
Since its debut, Nike Flyknit has evolved to suit the category or sport to which it's tailored. Flyknit can be engineered for the strength and durability needed in contact sports such as soccer or basketball, and the fabric can be modified to fit the needs of a specific athlete. Nike Flyknit has been applied to the signature sneaker lines of sports greats like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. The technology has also been used to reimagine sneakers in the Nike archives. The Air Jordan 1, Air Jordan 4, and Nike Air Force 1 have all seen releases retrofitted with Nike Flyknit uppers.
One of the main benefits of Nike Flyknit is that it's much lighter and more breathable than traditional materials found in the upper of shoes. On average, a sneaker constructed with Flyknit is 2 oz. lighter than a conventional sneaker. That may not sound like a lot, but it's a difference you can feel.
The environmental impact of the material and its manufacturing process is also appealing to eco-friendly sneakerheads. On average, Flyknit sneakers reduce waste by 60 percent in comparison to the typical footwear manufacturing process. In 2016, Nike shifted the production of its core Flyknit yarn material to recycled polyester.
Note on care: Do not put your Flyknit sneakers in the washing machine as the heat may cause the shoes' glue to loosen. Apply a water-repellent spray before use.
Popular Colorways in the Flyknit Family
A wide variety of eye-catching colorways have made a splash in the Flyknit collection. Here are some of our favorites:
Top colors in the Flyknit Racer:
This vibrant lime green is sure to get noticed.
Vivid orange mixes with dark grey and white accents for a true showstopper.
Even bolder than the Total Orange colorway, and nicely offset with black detailing.
For those who prefer to tone things down a bit, this classic combo can't be beat.
Game Royal/Pink Flash
Arguably the most striking in the mix, in a dizzying swirl of blue and pink.
This cookies-and-cream mixture looks almost too good to wear.
Brilliant red dominates the black and white accents.
Top picks in the Flyknit Trainer:
- Olive/Brown/Sail. A subtle brown and olive upper gets a shot of red and black for added impact.
- Night Purple. Rich, deep purple with tonal purple laces and a subdued black Swoosh is a real stunner.
One of the most coveted colorways, this understated all-black version is pure refinement.
A vibrant blue outsole boosts the low-key grey upper.
You can never go wrong with a classic white with a gum outsole
A soft, calming blue upper is the perfect backdrop for the in-your-face black Swoosh.
If you like bright and yellow, this is your foot's new go-to
Nike Flyknit Running Shoes Break a World Record
While Nike Flyknit wasn't designed for running alone, the technology and material have strong roots in the sport. The Nike Flyknit Racer, a porous and lightweight running sneaker, was first to hit the pavement. Right on its heels was the Flyknit Trainer, a slightly more protected and stable sneaker, that's built for training runs.
Nike Flyknit material has been incorporated into most of Nike's running shoe launches since its debut. Flyknit also made its way to the Nike Free line of natural motion running shoes. The Flyknit upper has combined with Nike's React cushioning foam in the popular Epic React and React Infinity styles, and has been paired with Nike Air tooling in the Nike VaporMax series. But nothing put Flyknit more in the spotlight than the Alphafly NEXT%, the running shoe Eliud Kipchoge wore to break the world marathon record—in a modified version of Flyknit called Atomknit.
The Cultural Impact of Nike Flyknit
Within the first year of Nike Flyknit's debut, Nike CEO Mark Parker and designers Tinker Hatfield and Hiroshi Fujiwara collaborated on a collection of Flyknit Sneakers. Their design collective, named HTM (Hiroshi-Tinker-Mark), has teamed up since 2002 to amplify Nike's new technologies. Their HTM Trainer+ was limited to 100 pairs and individually numbered, making the silhouette, featuring a Lunarlon midsole, an extremely limited collector's item.
Nike Flyknit made its mark in pop culture during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. While Volt racing flats were burning up the track during the Games, they were even more prominently displayed on the medal podium. Many Olympians received their medals wearing the neon green Nike Flyknit Racer, which boosted the sneaker's status around the world.
The popularity of Nike Flyknit continued to soar as it made its way to the basketball court. The first basketball sneaker to feature Nike Flyknit was Kobe Bryant's signature line in the high-top Nike Kobe 9. The design showcased how storytelling can be told through color. Noteworthy Kobe 9 colorways that exemplified this were Moonwalker, Beethoven, Masterpiece and Detail.