The fabric was created about six and a half years ago using strong synthetic fibres within the structure of the textile to provide support. These fibres were aligned to provide ongoing tension in the textile. They form the bulk of the textile, similar to a string art picture. Flywire is designed using the same engineering process as a suspension bridge where tension lines are used to absorb the torque coming from twisting motion. This engineering concept is used to help the textile withstand stretching and maintain lateral stiffness during rugged use. However, leaving the textile in the string condition left it unprotected with no rigid structure. A lightweight covering material made of polypropylene was applied to produce an intact fabric.
Creating the fibres within the structure of the textile presented a second problem. The fibres needed to be stitched inside the structure of the fabric. This was overcome using the same technology that is used in embroidery machines. Using an embroidery machine would produce nothing more than a nicely embroidered textile but he concept of the machine’s ability to stitch in any direction was key to the solution. the machine needed to be reprogrammed to produce long jump stitches in the structure of the fabric, rather than on the surface.
Nike markets this material with three key properties in mind – weight, durability and comfort. There is little doubt that the shoes are extremely ight in weight. Soccer cleats and track shoes are now weighing in at 100 grams. This is a significant decrease in the weight of these types of shoes from the 1980s and 1990s. Before Flywire, the concept for improving durability to a sport textile was to add additional layers of fabric. The layers added weight. Using the Flywire technology has eliminated the need for additional layers of fabric and successfully reduced the weight of the product to which it is applied.
The second property that Nike promotes is durability. Recalling my son’s first experience with the Flywire technology, durability was not at the top of his list. His light weight…