4D Knit Flyknit™ Shoe Construction

4D Knitting Modern Shoe Construction

nike flyknit shoe materialsIntroduced 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.


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 how to make shoes:

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