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Performance, protection, sustainability drive sportswear innovation

Marie O’Mahony

With the Tokyo Olympic Games opening this weekend, Marie O’Mahony takes a look at some of the latest sportswear developments.

21st July 2021

Marie O'Mahony
 |  Dublin, Ireland


Performance, protection and sustainability are driving many of the new developments in sportswear this season. In footwear, big name brands such as Nike have launched innovations to enhance performance, but so also have small start-ups that few may have heard of, such as Playmaker. Protection from injury is spearheading innovations from DITF and T1TAN GmbH. With many brands stepping up their engagement with environmental issues, Timberland have announced a new level of circularity in footwear for 2022.

Underfoot technology

While Flyknit has attracted much attention in recent years, Nike has always maintained a firm focus on its original core strength in underfoot technology.  Foam has a pivotal role in optimising energy transfer without compromising lightness.

While knit technology allows for function-driven gradient in a single material, this is not so easy to achieve with foam technology requiring different foam densities to be brought together in layers. Nike use React foam to eliminate the need for layering and glue.  It uses a thermoplastic elastomer base to provide improved cushioning and energy return for baseball and running.

Read the full story on Innovation in Textiles

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