Why Nike Is Making Shoes You Can Take Apart

Nike ISPA Link 1 native 1600

The new Nike ISPA Link will be available in June, ISPA stands for “Improvise”, “Scavenge”, “Protect”, and “Adapt” Via Nike

For more than 30 years, Nike teams have pursued design solutions in service of the athlete and the planet. They’ve unlocked new, lower-impact materials (see: Nike Grind, Nike Air) and created pinnacle performance footwear and iconic lifestyle silhouettes leveraging recycled content (see: Alphafly Next Nature, the 2022 Move to Zero collections). As the climate crisis has intensified for athletes around the world, Nike teams have shifted into a higher gear, embracing circular design principles as creative accelerants. Those include the 10 principles outlined in the Nike 2019 Circular Design Guide, an open-source workbook to share learnings and insights with the larger design community and anyone interested in how design can help lessen impact on the planet.

This season, the ISPA team considered the circular design principle of “disassembly,” or the ability to easily take a product apart to recycle its contents, one of the more challenging principles to implement in footwear design. A good shoe is flexible and durable. Traditionally, designers use glue and other bonding elements to achieve these aims, but that makes a shoe nearly impossible to disassemble and recycle. Recycling shoes usually requires shredding, an energy-intensive process that limits how the recycled materials can be used. Creating a shoe that can be taken apart would reduce the carbon footprint of the product and open up new possibilities for its life cycle.

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