Nike Reveals the Cosmic Unity Basketball Shoe — and It Pairs Sustainability With Performance

Ever since Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis debuted the Nike Cosmic Unity shoe in December 2020, basketball fans have been eager for its release. Today, the athletic giant revealed details about the look — and there’s more to the story than on-court performance.

The Nike Cosmic Unity collection — which features apparel and accessories in addition to the court-ready shoe — was born to make both the athlete and the planet better.

“The mission of this proposition and ‘Cosmic’ is really about thinking differently, thinking out there, breaking the bounds. Not really having anything to tether to, which we needed to do in order to figure out a new solution to a giant problem,” Nike senior creative director of men’s footwear performance Ross Klein said in a statement. “And ‘Unity’ became using our experiences together and our partnership together to drive this idea. Together, we have Cosmic Unity.”

The Cosmic Unity collection, Nike said, features products with at least 25% recycled content by weight. (Even the Swoosh branding on the shoe is made of recycled TPU and there is recycled polyester throughout the upper.)

The Cosmic Unity shoe — which Nike said is its first sustainable performance look — was created with the belief that sustainability doesn’t equate to the sacrifice of performance. The look was made to bring two company principles to basketball and performance sports: the Move to Zero climate change initiative and the Space Hippie idea of looking at waste as a resource.

“We know basketball has the power globally to bring a perspective and unite people together. And so by using basketball and thinking through basketball, we can really bring a wide range of athletes to the table,” Klein said. “From people who are playing in the park, from people who are playing in different geographies, from different genders, to even different levels and style of play, we can bring athletes together. So really it became about solving for performance while influencing our ability to look at the world and our people and our choices.”

Nike Cosmic Unity Green Glow
Nike Cosmic Unity in the “Green Glow” colorway.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Nike

For the baller, the Cosmic Unity shoe — with key wear-testing from WNBA star A’ja Wilson — was built to offer athletes control, durability and responsiveness.

For control, the brand created uppers with cabling technology “that mimics cosmic frequencies and provides dynamic forefoot support in its web network construction.” Keeping with its sustainability theme, Nike explained that the uppers were made using an additive manufacturing process that “reduces material waste, offers zonal tuning, forefoot lockdown, breathability and recycled material to deliver engineered performance precision.”

As for the shoe’s durability, Nike added a thin rubber outsole for traction made for the court without extra weight, which also helps with control and ground connection.

And to deliver on responsiveness, Nike equipped the Cosmic Unity with full-length Zoom Air Strobel units that are stitched to the upper, which the brand said offers energy return directly under foot. Also, for the first time in a performance shoe, the company included its Crater Foam — a blend of proprietary foams and roughly 10% Nike Grind Rubber, which consists of recycled materials from manufacturing scraps, unsellable products and worn-out sneakers. (Crater Foam also appears on the tongue top detail and heel.)

The Nike Cosmic Unity arrives Feb. 26 in the “Green Glow” colorway and will retail for $150. Following “Green Glow” is “Amalgam” on March 7 and “Space Hippie” on March 12.

Nike also confirmed that a Black History Month colorway of the shoe will be spotted on the basketball court this month.

Nike Cosmic Unity Amalgam
Nike Cosmic Unity in the “Amalgam” colorway.<span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen-Sans, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;"> </span>
CREDIT: Courtesy of Nike
Nike Cosmic Unity Space Hippie
Nike Cosmic Unity in the “Space Hippie” colorway.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Nike
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