In recent years, you may have noticed a change in trend in regards to sport and casual footwear, with lighter, breathable material being used as the shoes upper. This is a trend that took off after both Adidas and Nike implemented their own lightweight inventive fabric for optimal performance footwear – Nike’s Flyknit and Adidas Primeknit.
So what is Adidas Primeknit? Primeknit is Adidas’s own branded methodology of creating high quality, ultra-lightweight durable boots that have revolutionised sports footwear. Whereas classic, basic sporting footwear is usually made from numerous separate pieces of leather (or some other material) stitched together, the Primeknit method knits the entire upper portion of the shoe digitally and in one piece. Primeknit uses fused yarn which allows the company to digitally fine-tune the exact amount of flexibility, stability and support athletes need in the exact parts that they need it. The result is high-quality, long lasting, super lightweight footwear that wraps around the foot almost like a sock, providing comfort and allowing athletes to perform at the peak of their game.
Adidas have been at the forefront of the woven revolution, the beginning of which was in 2010 when several of the company’s employees visited Frankfurt’s Techtextil Fair in Germany. Whilst there, two of the Adidas team noted a glove at the fair that was knitted with thermoplastic fuse yarns which allowed the glove to be both flexible and extremely light whilst maintaining fantastic durability.
The discovery of the glove sparked a light bulb moment and Adidas had the ingenious thought to apply the same technology and knitting process to a sporting shoe. At the same time, Adidas Design had just engaged in an agreement with a group of furniture designers who were given the responsibility of coming up with fresh original ideas and designs for potential future sport shoes. One such designer, Alexander Taylor, was soon in communication with Adidas on the potential such a knitted shoe could have.
From this point, the company began investigating various progressive knitting technologies, machines and processes as well as seeking the advice from external flat knit experts and as a result, Adidas built strong connections with various machine suppliers in Germany that would prove to be very auspicious, eventually helping to produce the first Primeknit prototypes.
After a successful presentation of the idea to Chief Marketing Officer Hermann Deininger and his subsequent approval, the project was soon underway. After only 12 months, Adidas had its first official series of Primeknit shoes – a concept that would revolutionise sporting footwear forever.
Written by Aaron Thompson