4D Knit Flyknit™ Shoe Construction

4D Knitting Modern Shoe Construction

nike flyknit shoe materials Introduced in 2012, Nike™ Flyknit™ technology, also called 4D knitting is changing the way athletic shoes are made.
A one-piece upper design is produced by a CNC knitting machine then assembled with the tongue, lining materials, and reinforcements. This knitting technology once found only on expensive shoes is rapidly expanding to lower-priced shoes.  You can find running shoes made by Nike™, Tubular X Knit Soccer shoes, Hyper Boost™ from Adidas™, and even Chinese local market casual shoes are now being made with 4D knitting technology.  In the major shoemaking areas of China, the CNC kitting machine is becoming a common sight.

shoe making machine flyknit factory

Flyknit Construction

To construct the one-piece upper, the knitting machine is loaded with polyester, nylon, or spandex fibers. The newest knitting machines can handle a mix of fibers and up to 10 colors at one time. The machine can be programmed to knit one upper at a time or 3 uppers with a maximum width of 90cm.

Depending on the programming and fibers selected, the upper can be thin and stretchable or thick and stretch resistant. The design opportunities are nearly infinite with fiber options, colors choices, knit densities, and openings configurations.

shoe making machine flyknit factory

4D Knitting Cost

The cost depends on the number of colors and fiber types. A single color polyester fiber design may cost $2.50, while a multi-color, polyester spandex combination can cost $7.50 per upper.

Flyknit_shoe_construction3

MOQ (Minimum Order Quantity) is around 1000 pairs, with a setup fee per design of $300. Sample development is fast – just 7 to 10 days, this may take longer if custom color fibers are required. Once the design is confirmed the automated production can run around the clock. 1000 parts can be done in 7 to 10 days, less depending on how many knitting machines are deployed.

Flyknit Construction and Design

While these shoes look like they are entirely constructed with the knit material, the internal linings, reinforcements, and padding are exactly what you will find on a conventionally cut and stitched shoe.

There are many firms in China that now offer one piece knit shoe uppers.

Guoyao Technology Co., Ltd.
Prima Knit

Learn more about making shoes:

Footwear design book Free PFD Shoe Design Book DownloadDo you want to learn how big brands make shoes?  Now you can!  How Shoes are Made will show you how modern shoes come to life! More than just a tour through a sneaker factory and more than your average shoe making book!  From drawing shoe designs to sample development and footwear manufacturing, you will learn how it is all done. Written by veteran shoemaking pros, How Shoes are Made will give you a look inside the REAL world of shoe design, development, and mass production. 220 pages with over 400 color photos and drawings. 26 chapters explaining shoe design, footwear pattern making, sample development, footwear materials selection, upper stitching, outsole and tooling design, shoe lasts, shoe costing, quality inspections, starting you own shoe brand, and much more!  A must read for young shoe designers, sneaker heads, or any footwear fanatic! Over 2500 copies sold! Read in 60 Countries! See Preview Video On YouTube

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Table of Contents:

The Design Process, Shoe Development, Shoe Patterns, Shoe Specifications, Outsole Tooling, Development Process, Pre-Production, Material Preparation, Stitching Operations, Rubber Pressing, EVA Forming, The Assembly Line, The Shoe Last, Footwear Costing, Importing Shoes, Shoe Logo Design, Leather for Shoes, Textiles for Shoes ,Synthetics for Shoes,  Foam for Shoes, Know Your Footbeds, Material Suppliers, Shoe Designers Tools, Jobs in the Shoe Trade ,Quality Control, Starting a Shoe Company, Life at a Shoe Factory, Shoe Making Dictionary

If you want to learn more, check out our new books.

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Computer cut shoe pattern for a classic jogger.  Factory Blue Print included.

Entire pattern size run for the Arris classic trainer, Men’s US 7-13 (Euro 39-47)

Shoe last measuring step. Measures last heel lift from 1cm to 11.5 cm.

24 inch tape specifically designed for measuring shoe lasts.

Ready to Print! Men's size 9 last. The .STL file can be scaled in X, Y and Z.

Great for checking leathers and synthetic materials. Features adjustable dial.

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