All Nike football kits are green!

On 25 February 2010, Nike launched its new football kits for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Nike put together a brilliant concept: SUSTAINABILITY.

Nike’s national team kits are the most environmentally-friendly and technologically-advanced in football’s history. BOOM there you go. Nike is setting another benchmark in football by emphasisng on sustainability, a word well known worldwide.

But let’s have a look at the kits. The design is clean, simple and obviously, the technological aspect is also a key factor. Moisture management is taken care of to offer players the most comfortable kit to match the weather conditions in South Africa. The jerseys are also 15% lighter to allow Pato and Cristiano Ronaldo to go faster…..Simple, but great looking kits. But the emphasis is  somewhere else. Delivering a powerful message: Environmentally friendly and sustainable football products.

In a previous article, I pointed out that adidas, Nike and Puma will be the 3 most powerful players and will have the strongest exposure in South Africa. What did I say again about Nike?: “The answer from Nike will for sure be there […] the message will be big, powerful, inspirational and we can expect a kick ass marketing campaign from the Swoosh.”

So the message is out there. It’s big, powerful inspirational, and on top of that, the marketing platform is immense. Tackling the sustainability aspect in football is now owned by Nike as Charlie Denson (President Nike Brand) stressed that “We are equipping athletes with newly designed uniforms that not only look great and deliver performance benefits, but are also made with recycled materials, creating less impact on our environment.”

The “war” has begun, and the Swoosh took the first shot. What better message can be delivered to the world than the one of taking care of the environment? According to the Nike Press Release;

To make the 2010 national team kits, Nike’s fabric suppliers sourced discarded plastic bottles from Japanese and Taiwanese landfill sites and then melted them down to produce new yarn that was ultimately converted to fabric for the jerseys. This process saves raw materials and reduces energy consumption by up to 30 percent compared to manufacturing virgin polyester. By using recycled polyester for its new range of national jerseys, Nike prevented nearly 13 million plastic bottles, totaling nearly 254,000 kg of polyester waste, from going into landfill sites. This amount would be enough to cover more than 29 football pitches. If the recycled bottles used to make the jerseys were laid end-to-end they would cover more than 3,000 kilometres, which is more than the entire coastline of South Africa.

So what is the bottom line here? Nike is setting a benchmark in the industry by taking ownership of sustainability in football. Their football kits are “green” and the buzz will be high. Well, they just did it….again.

What do you think? What is your take on this?

Karl Lusbec


19 thoughts on “All Nike football kits are green!

  1. Hi Karl, great article, its nice to see that Nike doing things on a small scale!! I am sure that others will follow suit too. I deal with Errea sportswear a lot and they have something called the OEKO TEX standard 100 certification, Errea were the first ever certified company in the teamwear industry to be awarded this, and I believe they are still the only ones to have it, forgive me if I am wrong on that. However the Oeko-Tex certification goes to certify the absence in textile products of substances that may be carcinogeneric, allergenic, irritant and more generally harmful to human health. The certificate is granted on the basisis of technical analysis of products used to manufacture textile products. Since 1992 the Oeko Tex standard 100 has represented the leading label in the textiles and clothing industry.

    Fabrics are free from products containing formaldehyde and the presence of traces, if any, does not exceed the limits set forth by the Japanese regulation (Law 112 of 12/10/73)

    During the processing steps fabrics have undergone no chemical treatmeant that might release the aromatic amines mentioned in the regulation by the German Ministry of health.

    Accessories are nickel-free

    Dangerous substances test, products in direct contact with the skin do not contain azoic dyes.

    Dyes used for transfer printing do not contain the azocolourants whose use is prohibited by the European Directive 2002/61EC

    I wonder why all manufactures dont go for Oeko-Tex certification?

    When I played football, I thought I just had to think about what colour the shirts need to be. How things have changed



    1. Hello Brian,
      Thank you very much for your comment and input. I have to admit, I was not aware that Errea was the first sportswear company that was granted this certification.
      A lot’s of sportwear companies are NOW taking the eco friendly route, and I am also looking forward to seeing what the other football brands will do to promote and communicate their efforts in this area,

      Thanks a bunch for your inputs, they are very helpful and provide great technical insights.


  2. Hi Karl and Brian,

    Actually Oeko-tex 100 has nothing to do with recycled polyester and Nike’s football kits.

    It is a neat and efficient way for smaller companies that do not have the resources to control their supply chain efficiently, to ensure that their products are “safe” for their consumer and in accordance to most basic governmental regulations internationally. This way the manufacturers are audited by a third party and the buyers only need to make sure that the certificate is authentic.

    All the big brands have standards in place that in most points surpass Oeko-tex 100 and the manufacturers they use will already have this certification anyway as we are in the “era of certifications”.

    What Nike is doing with their kits is a very powerful and bold statement, and is based on the concept of recycling.

    The difference-
    Oeko-tex 100 : The concept of ensuring there are no harmful substances which is a given.
    Nike’s recycled polyester football kits : The concept of further driving eco- technology in an innovative gesture to the masses.



  3. Hello Karl,

    While reading past articles on the blog, the article, “Nike Football Kits are Green!”, caught my attention. It is because I vividly recalled reading about a similar campaign being carried out by an organization named Revenge Is. While we may be quick to bestow praise on Nike for its sustainability ingeniuty, however, intuition tells me that Nike is not the originator of this green method, when I book marked this article on 11.15.08. When you have a moment, take a look at What do you make of this now?


    1. Hello FABO,
      Thanks for sharing.
      Revenge Is’s products are all sustainable and environmentally friendly. It’s their brand positioning. Nike’s brand positioning is performance sports products with some fashion, lifestyle and sustainable (Loopwheeler) silos .
      Nike and Revenge Is are two different brands for what they stand for.

      However, Nike’s approach with their World Cup Federations kits is to take ownership of sustainability in football, and they are being the first to do so.
      The principle of creating a garment based on plastic bottles must be quite “old”, but the integration to football especially for a huge event such as world cup is a smart move 🙂
      Thanks for reading the articles and leaving your comments FABO. Much apreciated!
      Keep in touch


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