Recycled plastics in the Olympics
This year’s Olympic Games in London brought into focus the use of innovative design in the construction of the venue and the facilities, as attempts were made to lower the carbon footprint and ensure that environment concerns are met. The innovations extended to the latest sportswear that companies launched and were seen by millions of people.
Take the new “Adipure” line of training shoes from Adidas. The sports shoes support natural running through a rolling motion over the metatarsus and forefoot. The shoe's special properties are attributed from materials developed by Bayer MaterialScience. They also satisfy runners' other requirements, such as the upper material of the shoe envelops the foot seamlessly like a second skin. This has been made possible through the unique properties of a textile coating based on a polyurethane dispersion from Bayer's Impranil range. The textile coating is known for its high resilience. Since it is important for the runner that it is applied precisely to the upper material at the points where the foot needs support, the coated material braces the foot but also offers it enough freedom to stretch. As a result, it makes a decisive contribution to the runner's perfect natural running experience.
Screen-printed coatings based on Impranil are also used as highly elastic bands in the latest Adidas jerseys with TECHFIT PowerWeb technology. When the bands are stretched in competition, the material briefly stores the energy of an athlete's movement, which would normally be lost, and converts it into increased speed and power. This improves performance and prevents premature fatigue. The higher compression avoids undesirable muscle vibration that can affect an athlete's performance.
Another interesting product is Nike’s new Track & Field uniforms. These full-length bodysuits are made from recycled plastic bottles – 13 bottles to a suit. The Nike uniforms have hree distinct looks, each specially designed for the aesthetic demands of such obscure sports as badminton, shooting and trampoline.
Incorporating over 1,000 hours of wind tunnel testing and insights from some of the fastest athletes in the world, the new Nike Pro TurboSpeed collection is not only Nike’s swiftest track apparel to date, it is also the most sustainable.
The uniforms in the Nike Pro TurboSpeed collection use an average of 82% recycled polyester fabric and up to an average of 13 recycled plastic bottles. Specifically for women, Nike has developed a new approach to modular support, creating specific solutions for the distance, sprint, and field athlete, each offering a different degree of support and adjustability, and integrating Dri-FIT moisture management and premium quality detailing throughout.
There are many more innovations that will fill the need for advanced materials in the sportswear sector. Each of this innovation takes into consideration not only the demand to come up with a winning line but also to protect the environment.