Meet Nike’s Most Sustainable Sneaker: The Space Hippie

Since its inception as a footwear company in 1972, Nike has been coming out with new ideas, inventions, and creative choices regarding sneakers.

Whether it is a new shoe design, a new shoe purpose, or even never-before-seen color combinations, Nike is known as one of the most innovative companies in the world. In fact, in 2009 they had more patents for their footwear than large companies like Ford and Pfizer had for their products.

You may be wondering how Nike comes up with ideas for new shoes seemingly every season?

There are many factors that play into Nike's large successes. One of them is its decision to use sustainable materials to not only create stylish footwear but stylish footwear that helps save the planet. This article looks deeper into the series of shoes known as The Space Hippie. It examines the company's thought process that led to the creation of the Space Hippie, what makes these sneakers unique, the top colorway choices for this style, and where you can buy a pair.

Nike's Move To Zero Campaign

Before we take a deep dive into everything Space Hippie, let’s take a look at the Space Hippie’s origin story. It all starts with the Move to Zero Campaign.

Besides creating footwear to appeal to all types of people, one of shoe company's main priorities was to reduce its footprint — its carbon footprint, that is. Another objective was to reduce the amount of waste in the manufacture of sneakers. 

The Move To Zero Campaign calls for creating apparel and footwear with environmentally sustainable materials to achieve that goal. Footwear that is considered "sustainable" is at least 20% recycled content by weight. Apparel must be 50% recycled content by weight to be designated "sustainable."

Besides using recycled content in apparel and footwear lines, Move To Zero has other programs that help preserve the environment. The Reuse-a-shoe program allows people to return their old sneakers so Nike can recycle and reuse the shoes' materials. The Refurbished aspect of Move to Zero allows people to purchase gently-used, like-new, and slightly imperfect shoes at a lower price so the shoes don’t get thrown away or go to waste.

Nike has stepped up even more in recent years and doesn't appear to be slowing down its sustainability efforts.

That said, let's have a "close encounter" with the most sustainable shoe Nike has ever created — the Space Hippie. 

space hippies

Photo source: Nike.com

 

Inspiration Behind the Nike Space Hippie

The creators of the Nike Space Hippie had one main goal in mind when they were creating the sneaker: to create a shoe made without any factory waste.

Nike Sustainable Design Lead Noah Murphy Reinhertz told online design magazine Core77 that Nike's goal is always to do better with each new product they create. With the Space Hippie, Murphy-Reinhertz and the rest of his team set out to create a sneaker that would be Nike's lowest carbon footprint product to date. 

Murphy-Reinhertz and the rest of the Sustainable Design team decided the best place to start this project was with the product's name. The Nike Space Hippie name draws inspiration from practices employed by NASA to make maximum use of all available resources.

NASA's in-situ source utilization (ISRU for short) teaches astronauts how to be resourceful in reducing waste and making useful items they need in space. As you can imagine, astronauts don't always have access to the building materials and waiting for a spaceship with additional materials could take a long time. This makes using what you have to its fullest capacity very important.

Nike borrowed the ISRU concept because they were looking at only using waste materials to produce the Space Hippie. That led to the design and production of what is considered to be one of Nike's most innovative shoes.

Why the Space Hippie Sneaker Is Unique

Besides being an entirely zero carbon footprint sneaker, the many different materials used in the shoe's creation makes the Space Hippie unique. Let's look at some of those materials and why they were selected for this sneaker. 

Space Waste Yarn

The Nike Space Hippie's design is a little different from other sneakers. The first noticeably different feature is that the Space Hippie's upper and side panels, heel, and everything besides the sole is constructed with Flyknit material.

Flyknit is incredibly lightweight, making it a perfect option for runners or people who want to feel like they're not even wearing shoes. The Flyknit in the Space Hippie is known as Space Waste Yarn and is almost 100% recycled material — such as Nike factory scraps, used T-shirts, and recycled polyester.

The Space Waste Yarn is made with less heat and no dyes, making it 70% less carbon emissive than the typical Flyknit polyester material. 

Crater Foam

The next main element that Nike used in the creation of the Space Hippie is called Crater Foam.

Crater Foam is Nike's traditional foam, made with up to 15% reground rubber, which is the extra rubber  produced in Nike's factories as other shoes and products are made. The name Crater Foam comes from the way the heel of the shoe looks like a rock that could make a crater with each step. Despite the harsh name, the material is comfortable and lightweight.

The Crater Foam is used in the Space Hippie's toebox, midsole, and outsole.

nike space hippies yarn

Photo source: Nike.com

 

Recycled ZoomX Foam

Recycled ZoomX Foam is the last material that makes the Nike Space Hippie truly unique. This ZoomX Foam is essentially created from recycled thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPU for short) and the extra foam from other elite running shoes. The materials are ground up and compressed to form the bottom of the Space Hippie, making it not only sustainable but very comfortable. 

It is worth mentioning that the midsole, outsole, and sole are all made of the same Crater Foam and Recycled ZoomX foam. This means the foam on each pair of Hippies is truly one-of-a-kind — the actual definition of unique.

Most Popular Color Combinations

Now that you've got a better idea of how the Nike Space Hippie was constructed and what makes it so special, let's look at its most popular color combinations — or "colorways," as they are called in the sneaker industry.

Summit White Multicolor

The first colorway we're going to look at is Summit White Multicolor. This Space Hippie is colored with the same off-white monochrome color all throughout the shoe except for the Nike Swoosh, which is made out of flecks of many different colors that gives it a rough outline that stands out from the rest of the off-white sneaker.

The Nike logo on the heel tab is also made of these same flecks of color, giving the sneaker a very cohesive look. This pair of Nike Space Hippies is a great option for anybody wanting to add a white pair of shoes to their collection! You can find it starting at $121.00 here on Amazon.

Summit White Multicolor

Photo source: Amazon.com

 

Wolf Grey

The Wolf Grey Nike Space Hippie is another popular colorway for Nike fans around the world. The entire body of the shoe is made out of Nike's grey Space Waste material. Little dashes of black fabric can be found sporadically throughout the shoe, making it more than just a boring, grey color.

The heel tab, shoe laces, tongue tab, and inside of the shoe are also black. The bright green Nike Swoosh really stands out against the grey background and brings a pop of color to an otherwise monochrome sneaker. Additionally, many consumers found the Swoosh to be their favorite portion of the shoe because the bright green is just right on the eyes.

This pair of Space Hippies is perfect for people who want to add a splash of color to their everyday lives. If you're interested in the Wolf Grey colorway, you can find it here on Amazon, starting out at $84.95. 

Wolf Grey

Photo source: Amazon.com

 

Black Multicolor

The Black Multicolor Nike Space Hippie is similar to the Wolf Grey colorway but unique enough in its own ways to land a spot on our top-rated colorway list.

The base of the shoe is made out of black Space Waste material that creates a blank canvas for color to be added, which is what Nike did.

Dashes of bright green are interwoven into the base of the shoe. The color is exemplified even more due to the Nike Swoosh and heel tab also being black. It's the perfect combination of sleek and chic that many fans enjoy. If you're interested in this pair of Nike Space Hippie sneakers, you can find them starting out at $64.33 on Amazon. 

Black Multicolor

Photo source: Amazon.com

 

Mystic Navy

The Nike Space Hippie in Mystic Navy is another excellent colorway that many fans enjoy. Instead of the base of the shoe remaining monochrome like many other Space Hippies are, the base of this shoe is best described as different shades of dark blue with a grey undertone.

This gives the shoe an almost other-worldly appearance.

The white Nike Swoosh suits this shoe perfectly, It doesn't stand out too much or make the shoe appear busy.

The laces, heel tab, and parts of the inside of the sneaker are a dark Navy blue color. The bold but not-too-bold colors of this shoe work well together, which is why it's one of the most popular colorways of the Space Hippie.

If you're interested in adding this pair to your collection, you can find them on Amazon, starting at $84.95

Mystic Navy

Photo source: Amazon.com

 

Light Lemon Twist

If you like bold colors and are in the market for a stand-out pair of sneakers for your collection, then the Light Lemon Twist Space Hippies are a perfect option for you.

The base of the shoe is a popping lemon-lime color that's featured everywhere except a small portion of the heel and Nike Swoosh. The heel of the shoe containing the Nike logo is a silver color, which offsets the bright green perfectly.

You can find short dashes of blue fabric interwoven on the base of the shoe, including on the Nike Swoosh. The blue calms down the green so it is not so intense on the eyes.

This colorway of the Nike Space Hippie is highly sought after, so it may not be available in all sizes when you are shopping. However, in our research we found that Finish Line has many different sizes of the Light Lemon Twist sneaker that can be found here, starting at $130.00. 

Light Lemon Twist

Photo source: Finishline.com

 

Where They Can Be Found

Luckily, many Nike Space Hippie releases are still in stock and haven't been discontinued, so you are more likely to find a pair online.

The following list of websites provides some of the best places online to buy a pair of Space Hippies, just in case your favorite sneaker website is sold out of your favorite style.

  1. Nike's Website. Out of all the places to purchase a pair of these sneakers, Nike's website is one of the best. Here you will get the sneakers right from the source and have access to the best quality kicks imaginable. You won't have to worry about fake Space Hippies here, which is why it's a top-rated place to purchase them. However, some colors or sizes could be sold out. To avoid any sizing issues, we recommend always double-checking the size of the shoe you are purchasing before you buy it. 

  2. StockX. StockX is a secondhand website that sells many different brands and styles of shoes at a lower price than at retail stores and sites. With StockX, you either buy lightly used or new shoes outright or you can place bids on them, which could allow you to get the shoes at even lower prices. One advantage to purchasing the Nike Space Hippies on StockX is the many different varieties of sizes and colorways available that may not be available elsewhere. Additionally, you won't have to worry about purchasing fake renditions of the Space Hippies, as StockX uses its own specific authentication process that guarantees you get the real deal with each purchase you make.

  3. Amazon. No one can go wrong with Amazon! One of the features many consumers have said they like about Amazon is the fast Amazon Prime shipping provided for many different products. Amazon is a great place to look for the Nike Space Hippie sneakers if your favorite size and colorway are out of stock on Nike's website. There are also many sales that Amazon has that vary daily, so you may be able to get lucky with some on-sale kicks. 

  4. Foot Locker. One of the last websites that sells new Nike Space Hippie sneakers, and other types of shoes, is Foot Locker. Foot Locker is a great resource to purchase shoes from for a few reasons. One is that you can read the details of the shoe you are considering. This includes such information as how the sneakers fit, reviews of that specific shoe, and frequently asked questions that have been answered for other consumers. Foot Locker also offers different payment methods, which can help those on a tighter budget. You can check out some Space Hippies here if you're so inclined.

Conclusion

The Nike Space Hippie is one of the most ambitious pairs of sneakers created by Nike. This sneaker was designed with sustainability in mind from the first time the Sustainable Design team discussed the idea of a zero-carbon emissive sneaker up to today. There are many different renditions of the sneaker in circulation.

If the eco-friendly mission of the Space Hippie isn't enough to attract potential buyers, the many unique features have been cited as a reason why it has so many fans.

The success of this sneaker makes it a good bet there will be more stylish-yet-sustainable shoes in Nike's future.

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