Whether you’re a passionate shoe fashionista or completely practical about what you put on your feet, knit-top sneakers are getting the attention of the entire shoe market. The amazing performance of high-quality, high-tech, knit fabrics are redefining the look, the durability, and the comfort of casual shoes. And as if that weren’t enough, many of these new knit fabrics are helping the environment too. Today, we’re going to explain some of the attributes of knit sneakers and why there’s so much excitement about them.
Knitting has been around for almost 1,500 years, and now it’s finally taking the shoe industry by storm. Why? No other material, man-made or natural, offers the knit patterns, textures, colors, durability, flexibility, and performance of a knit fabric. Both shoe designers and shoe engineers are thrilled about the endless possibilities knitting offer in a fashion and a functional sense.
Whether we’re talking about knit sneakers for men or knit shoes for women, the premium materials that are available with knit uppers are raising the bar of what people can expect from a running shoe or casual shoe.
Never before have designers and engineers been able to offer the best of both worlds in the same shoe. And the best part of all is that we are just at the beginning of this new horizon. Some makers are ahead of others in their exploration, and we can expect even more coming soon.
Can you imagine? When your shoes get dirty or stinky, you just throw them in the washing machine, air dry them, and like magic, they look brand new and fresh as a daisy. That’s never, ever, been possible with shoes of any kind before.
No more scrubbing dusty and dirty shoes. No more embarrassment because of stinky feet. You can even wear them barefoot if you like and not have them declared a toxic zone by your friends.
There are an endless variety of high-grade threads and knit patterns, and construction methods that can out-perform and out-last traditional materials. The knit upper can be made to be as lightweight and stretchy as you like or robust and tough as needed, and sometimes both of these attributes can be offered in the very same pair of shoes.
Durable nylon thread is one of these materials. It can be made into material that’s as flexible and lightweight as pantyhose or as tough as a ballistic vest. Abrasion resistance can be specifically dialed into the activity you have in mind. An unlimited variety of colors with anti-fade properties are also now possible.
Some of the most forward-thinking companies are recycling plastic water bottles in an ingenious process that creates a super-tough, color-fast knit that you can wash over and over and over again.
The sole may wear out at some point, but the upper stays pristine. What this means is that these knit-top shoes can last a heck of a lot longer than normal animal products or man-made product shoes. Fewer animals and fewer cotton plants are used to produce uppers. They are also decreasing the environmental impact of plastic water bottles.
Knit uppers are inherently more breathable, more lightweight, and more form-fitting and comfortable than other uppers. Now, with the extreme durability of new, high-tech threads, these inherent benefits can last a very long time, all while giving you the perfect fit.
One of the unique advantages of a knit upper is that different parts of the upper can be designed with a variety of different stiffness, support levels, and forgiving stretch.
Common pressure points can be relieved with lots of give, and a sturdy and stiff amount of support can be provided where it’s needed, all with the same upper using a variety of different knit structures and thicknesses. As you would expect, many of these shoes come with a form-fitting foam insole. Great looks, performance, and comfort can all be delivered with the exact same shoe.
You don’t have to baby these new knit uppers. Do what you like with them and when they’re looking a little soiled, simply wash them. Remember to remove the foam insole first. Then some manufacturers recommend hand washing them with mild dish soap like dawn.
While other manufacturers recommend you throw them in your washing machine on a normal cycle with cold water, and like magic, they come out clean. The only caution is that you keep them away from heat. Once you’re done washing them, lay them on a towel and let them air dry.
Fashion brands can be notorious for pushing one style today and condemning the same style tomorrow. Knit uppers are a reality, and they will become more and more common as people see for themselves how well they perform and how long they last.
Extreme lightweight designs for summer and the beach are made possible with knit uppers. And if you like to stay active in the winter, knit uppers that are much thicker and sturdier will help protect you from the cold and snow. The versatility of application is practically endless, and engineers can create activity-specific shoes with essentially the same raw material no matter at which extreme you prefer.
One of the most beneficial aspects of knit uppers is that they reduce off-cuts and waste to almost zero. The shapes are made to exact specifications, so there isn’t any need to trim to size or shape. The result is less impact on many aspects of production as well as the environment.
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