A "major advancement" in its Flyknit technology has allowed US sporting goods giant Nike to develop a shoe upper constructed in a complete 360-degree form that wraps the entire foot, helping athletes feel more secure and controlled during their movements.

Nike Flyknit, which debuted at the 2012 Olympic Games in London with the Nike Flyknit Racer, is a digitally engineered knitting process best known for its role in lightweight, formfitting and virtually seamless shoe uppers. Because the Flyknit is precision engineered down to every stitch, it also produces 60% less waste than traditional cut-and-sew methods.

The technology was recently extended to the latest Nike sports bras, and inspired a new "super material" called Flyleather made with at least 50% recycled natural leather fibre and water power.

Nike says that to make the Flyknit 360 upper construction, engineers use complex knitting structures to create a closed anatomical form that mimics the shape of the foot. The upper then goes through a thermoforming process to provide shape and support underfoot. The result is a lighter, breathable shoe.

"Fit is the foundation of fast. No matter how innovative a pair of football boots may be, if the fit isn't right, if the foot slides even 1mm inside the boot, speed can be compromised," the company explains.

The new 360 construction is being used in the latest Mercurial Superfly 360 and Mercurial Vapor 360 boots.

"This new innovation hugs the foot and eliminates the gaps between the foot and the soleplate. In fact, it eliminates the soleplate altogether," adds Max Blau, VP of Nike football footwear.

Without a soleplate, the sockliner interlocks with a new internal chassis that is individually tuned per size via computational programming for maximum responsiveness.

Nike also plans to roll out the Flyknit 360 construction across other sports in due course.