TIME has recognized Nike’s Flyknit Racer as one of the best inventions of 2012.

By knitting thread into a single layer to fit around your foot—instead of cutting and sewing together multiple materials—engineers at Nike not only made this sneaker lighter (just 5.6 oz., or 160 g) but also gave it a precision fit: the weave alternately grips and gives despite the absence of liners or reinforcements. Plus, it’s eco-friendly, with less waste left on the factory floor.