Nike's new Flyknit technology is saving the company a ton of money.
The Flyknit material, which debuted two years ago, is lightweight, minimalist, and fits like socks.
Nike uses "automated, high-tech knitting [technology] to 'weave' the shoe's upper" half into one piece, instead of several pieces that are stitched together, according to a recent research note by Deutsche Bank.
The technology reduces labor costs by up to 50% and cuts material usage by up to 20%, resulting in .25% higher margins, analysts wrote.
The Flyknit shoes retail for $120 to $150 on Nike's website.
Here's a close-up of the fibers:
Nike is also utilizing 3D printing machines to build the soles of some of its shoes, including the Vapor Laser Talon soccer cleat.
"Nike is transforming its footwear manufacturing process from a low value add, labor intensive process to one that is more automated, high value add using the latest technologies," analysts wrote.
Adidas is leveraging similar technology "and is targeting a fully automated footwear production platform," they noted.
Adidas' version of Flyknit is called Primeknit.
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