Nike Considered: Simply Remarkable

Nike has just launched its new Considered family of shoes, designed from a Cradle-to-Cradle-ish Point of View.  To create the Considered line, Nike’s designers went back to first prinicples, questioning basic design traditions in order to get to a new and better product outcome which addresses the environmental footprint required to source, manufacture, and recycle shoes.  Here are some highlights:

  • Leather (a renewable resource) pieces are stiched in an overlapping fashion so as to produce smooth internal seams, obviating the need for comfort liners and reducing the shoes’s material mass.
  • All of those leather pieces are tanned using a vegetable-based process
  • Again, to save material mass, metal eyelets aren’t used
  • The two-piece outsole is designed to snap together, eliminating harmful adhesives and simplifying recyclability
  • No use of PVC
  • Where possible, materials are sourced locally to reduce transportation energy use

The result?  Considered shoes generate 63% less waste in manufacturing than a typical Nike design.  The use of solvents has been cut by 80%.  And a stunning 37% less energy is required to create a pair of shoes. 

Is Considered a perfect example of green design?  No, but when was the last time anyone did anything to perfection?  I’m just happy to see a big, public company like Nike — with everything to lose, and not so much to gain — take a leadership role in trying to forge a new market space for environmentally friendly, socially relevant products.  This is a wonderful first step.

The result is a new sub-brand of shoes whose differentiation is rooted not in the multi-million dollar marketing endorsement of a basketball player, but in the physical makeup and design of the offering itself.  That’s real, and I hope it’s for keeps.

4 thoughts on “Nike Considered: Simply Remarkable

  1. It is very exciting to see that Nike built their social responsibility right into the product line, making it easy for prospective buyers to sense a new story behind the brand – and so, possibly, rebuild trust that had been lost. I am inspired to cut them some slack re: their previous labor practice problems and see where this Considered line goes. Very interesting…

  2. Hi Andrea,
    Yes, building social responsibility into the product is the best way for Nike to shift its brand meaning.
    I work in a shoe-centric corporate culture, and the Considered line is making a big splash… they’re certainly getting the attention of shoe mavens!

  3. Did anyone notice that they built a whole new line of shoes to promote sustainability? That makes me think that their other shoes are made just the same way as they always have been.

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