Editorial Feature

Eco-Friendly Football Kits and Boots

Image Credits: Nikeinc.com

The beautiful game of football has turned a shade of green over the last few years, with large companies investing heavily in sustainable equipment and kit. The Green Speed (GS) boots from Nike and the recycled kit of the Brazilian national team prove that eco-friendly ideas are breaking into the mainstream of the game, with some of the world’s biggest stars sporting such attire on a regular basis.

Over the years, football kits have changed dramatically. It used to be the case that kits were simply safe for the users and they were often fairly monotonous consisting of a long sleeved shirt, long shorts, socks and, more often than not, heavy, clunky boots.

Nowadays, football kits are colorful, vibrant and have a variety of different patterns. An effort is also being made to ensure that football kits and boots are designed in an eco-friendly way to make sure that manufacturers are limiting their impact upon the environment whilst also maintaining comfort and style for the players.

Boots are now manufactured using eco-friendly materials which, has not only benefited the environment, but has made the boots significantly lighter than before enabling players to have extra comfort, agility and speed.

Going Green - Neymar

Brazilian football star Neymar has been famously recognised for sporting the Nike GS football boot which is the most lightweight and eco-friendly boot Nike has ever made. The boot is made up of recycled and renewable materials, and was developed for explosive performances on the pitch and a limited impact on the environment. The boot weighs in at only 160 g and significantly reduces material wastage.

The Nike GS was developed in Italy and, throughout the upper and plate design, features recycled and renewable materials. It has a bio-based traction plate made up of castor beans giving flexibility and strength on the pitch. 70% of the materials used in the boot lining, lace and tongue are from recycled sources and roughly 15% of the collar and toeboard are too.

The traction plate in the Nike GS is a high-performance chassis with a strong agile and responsive form to it. The sole plate is made from 50% renewable Pebax Renew and 50% Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) produced from renewable sources. This plate is 15% lighter than traditional plate technology and also contains a diamond-silhoutte spine offering optimal agility and flexibility in plate performance. This strong spine on the plate helps to translate the energy from the foot through to the traction.

Lanzamiento botines Nike GS BOOTS de Neymar

Video sourced from: Youtube

Touch and control of the ball are greatly enhanced by this boot due to its Kanga-Lite synthetic upper section providing zonal reinforcement. This supports the arch and middle area of the foot. The sock liner, comprised of 100% castor beans, is chemical-free and lightweight and ensures a snug fit, greater energy efficiency and a superior touch on the ball.

Image Credits: Nikeinc.com

There is also an anatomical and asymmetrical heel counter and bucket which locks the foot in place providing the user with support and stability. As with the sole plate, this counter is also made from Pebax Renew, which is derived from castor bean oil.

Brazil's "Greener" Yellow Kit

Similar to the Nike GS boots, the kit worn by the Brazilian football team (shirt and shorts) is also made with fabric sourced from recycled bottles. These bottles are firstly washed, then cut into flakes and melted into a thread. This thread is then used to weave the fabric. Each set of kit is comprised of roughly 13 recycled bottles each and so Nike is credited for recycling at least 115,000,000 bottles which would have otherwise been sent to landfill sites.

The resulting kits are 23% lighter and have a 20% stronger knit structure than Nike's previous kits. They also feature Nike Dri-fit technology, which wicks away moisture from the athletes to ensure they remain cool and dry on the pitch.


Nike has taken the lead in eco-friendly sports manufacturing with several leading football teams adopting their new kits and lightweight boots. The footballing world has well and truly joined the green revolution it seems. Their kit made from recycled bottles has caused quite a stir in the footballing world, and players and fans can be certain that this won't be the only eco-friendly surprise in years to come.

Sources and Further Reading

Alessandro Pirolini

Written by

Alessandro Pirolini

Alessandro has a BEng (hons) in Material Science and Technology, specialising in Magnetic Materials, from the University of Birmingham. After graduating, he completed a brief spell working for an aerosol manufacturer and then pursued his love for skiing by becoming a Ski Rep in the Italian Dolomites for 5 months. Upon his return to the UK, Alessandro decided to use his knowledge of Material Science to secure a position within the Editorial Team at AZoNetwork. When not at work, Alessandro is often at Chill Factore, out on his road bike or watching Juventus win consecutive Italian league titles.


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