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Nike is making sneakers that can be taken apart for recycling

The Nike Link and Link Axis sneakers can be taken apart for recycling

Published: May 7, 2022 10:37:50 AM IST
Updated: Feb 24, 2023 05:11:17 PM IST


Nike is making sneakers that can be taken apart for recyclingThe Nike Link and Link Axis sneakers can be taken apart for recycling. Image: Courtesy Nike

Nike is on a mission to reduce its environmental footprint with two new sneaker models that can be taken apart entirely. This innovation is designed to make recycling quicker and easier, in turn cutting down on waste.

It's impossible today for any company in the fashion industry not to address the climate emergency, by contributing to reducing the environmental impact of the world's second-most polluting industry. The challenges are numerous, as are the initiatives taken by the sector's various brands, whether in the world of ready-to-wear or accessories, shoes or sportswear. Many are turning to low-impact or recycled raw materials, setting up short production circuits, limiting the use of water and energy, but also reducing waste.

The Swoosh brand, which has already proposed a few initiatives in this vein, is now innovating with two new shoe models—the Link and the Link Axis—designed to combine performance and sustainability. Nike's ISPA (Improvise; Scavenge; Protect; Adapt) research team has been working on a circular design process that involves taking apart a product to recycle its components more easily. But is dismantling a sneaker really an easy thing to do? It can be hard to imagine, considering that a sneaker is made up of a lot of materials, all stuck together.

"Designed in partnership with engineering, digital product creation and development, these shoes are completely informed by method of make— it really is a case of form following function," says Darryl Matthews, VP, Catalyst Footwear Product Design at Nike. "Our hope is that these ideas and aesthetics become normalized, accelerating our ability to imagine how shoes will continue to evolve in the future."

Each model is made of not one, but three parts that fit together without glue or other materials that can be difficult to recycle. Once worn, the shoes can be brought back to stores, then taken apart, so that each part can be recycled separately according to the material it is made of. The 'Nike ISPA Link' will be the first model to launch in June, while the 'Nike ISPA Link Axis' will land early in 2023.