This year, Nike is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Tech Fleece with a series of special releases. We take a look back at the history of the innovative fabric.
Introduced in 2013, the first Tech Fleece pieces dropped as part of the Tech Pack under the Nike Sportswear label. The lifestyle collection reimagined classic Nike apparel silhouette designed to meet the specifications of the world’s top athletes. The campaign included stars such as Neymar Jr., Kevin-Prince Boateng, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams.
Unlike traditional polar fleece, which was developed by Malden Mills and Patagonia in 1979 to mimic the qualities of wool with polyester, Tech Fleece is made from two layers of cotton jersey fused to a synthetic spacer. The construction traps body warmth between the layers without adding weight to the fabric, while the smooth surface added lifestyle appeal.
The Tech Pack saw the Windrunner hooded jacket, AW77 hooded sweatshirt and N98 tracksuit updated with Tech Fleece material. Beyond the material upgrade, the silhouettes were streamlined with fewer seams for added comfort.
The Tech Fleece pants proved to be extremely popular, with regular restocks selling out quickly. The tapered fit and smooth appearance contributed to sweatpants shaking off their stigma and being socially acceptable clothing.
The following year, Nike combined its lightweight Tech Fleece with another innovative apparel technology: Aeroloft. Insulated with ultra-light goose down, the apparel offered even better thermoregulation with laser cut ventilation to prevent over-heating.
Nike eventually used the innovative material for footwear. In the fall of 2015, Tech Fleece landed on the upper of the Air Huarache, Roshe One, Internationalist and Juvenate. More models such as the Sock Dart, Presto and Air Moc followed, even adding the popular fabric as an option on Nike ID.
Things got a little quite around Tech Fleece, though it remained a staple in the UK favored by roadmen and rappers. Earlier this year, Canadian rapper Drake, who enjoys taking cues from UK culture, teamed up with Nike to release a full range of Tech Fleece pieces with his NOCTA brand.
In an effort to keep the buzz about Tech Fleece going for its 10-year anniversary, Nike tapped its roster of world class athletes for its “Don’t Sweat the Tech-nique” campaign, starring Erling Haaland, Phil Foden, Carlos Alcatraz and Naomi Osaka to show off the classic Tech Fleece silhouettes.
Nike also joined forces with Medicom Toy to celebrate 10 years of Tech Fleece with the release of a Bearbrick. Releasing in different sizes, the N98 1000% and 400% figures come dressed in a bespoke Tech Fleece N98 tracksuit in Heather Grey from the very first Tech Fleece drop, while the 100% figure features the same tracksuit with an all-over body print.