Monday, November 25th, 2013
The 2010 World Cup soccer tournament in South Africa was the first time that the American sporting goods giant Nike outfitted all its national teams, ten of them at the time, in jerseys made of recycled PET plastic bottles. The company will do it again at World Cup 2014 (June 12-July 13) in Brazil, only this time the whole uniform will be recycled PET, including the socks.
A few days ago, Nike unveiled the uniform — “kit” as soccer uniforms are called — host country Brazil’s team will wear in World Cup 2014 matches when it’s the home side. The bright yellow jersey with green trim, blue shorts and white socks closely follow Brazil’s passionately held futebol traditions. However, the Nike design and technology used to make this kit are not traditional but are in full accord with Nike’s Sustainable Business at Nike, Inc.
During World Cup 2010, Nike earned praise for having kept 18 million PET bottles out of landfills. It was not a one-off event. Since then Nike has diverted almost 2 billion bottles from landfills. The company describes its approach as a commitment to superior performance with lower environmental impact. Each kit is made from about 18 bottles. The socks are 78 percent recycled material, the shirt 96 percent and the shorts 100 percent, which is how Nike has made its soccer kits since 2010.
As for technology, to optimize its designs Nike first did a full body scan of each player on the Brazilian national team, as well as other players. Regulating player body temperature in a match is a primary focus for Nike designers. The new kits combine Nike Dri-Fit technology, which wicks moisture away from the skin, plus “burnout” mesh and laser-cut ventilation holes that localize cooling where players most need it. The shorts are designed to reduce bruises players get on their hips and thighs when sliding to get the ball.
The Brazilian team’s manager, Luiz Felipe Scolari, likes the shirt. He says it looks great, though he did notice one thing missing. The chest emblem has five stars, the number of times Brazil has won the World Cup. He intends to have a sixth one after World Cup 2014.