Nike’s new Flyknit technology is saving the company a ton of money.
The Flyknit material, which debuted two years ago, is lightweight, minimalist, and fits like socks.
Nike uses “automated, high-tech knitting [technology] to ‘weave’ the shoe’s upper” half into one piece, instead of several pieces that are stitched together, according to a recent research note by Deutsche Bank.
The technology reduces labour costs by up to 50% and cuts material usage by up to 20%, resulting in .25% higher margins, analysts wrote.
The Flyknit shoes retail for $US120 to $US150 on Nike’s website.
Here’s a close-up of the fibres:
Nike is also utilising 3-D printing machines to build the soles of some of its shoes, including the Vapor Laser Talon soccer cleat.
“Nike is transforming its footwear manufacturing process from a low value add, labour intensive process to one that is more automated, high value add using the latest technologies,” analysts wrote.
Adidas is leveraging similar technology “and is targeting a fully automated footwear production platform,” they noted.
Adidas’ version of Flyknit is called Primeknit.
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