Activity On the Nike Run: 3D Printing Shoe Design, Fashion and Sustainability

Nike has had a busy week: it announced a partnership with HP Printer, opens up a sustainability center in Belgium and Balmain partnered with Nike for a fashion shoe.

The world’s first 3D printer has been perhaps one of the most innovative tools to date being picked up by early pioneers such as Autodesk, Johnson & Johnson and Siemens. The HP Jet Fusion, priced at nearly $140,000, is an advanced 3D printer used for designing, engineering and creating top of the line mock-up prototypes. Believe it or not, HP’s model is costs 50% less and is 10x more efficient than other providers. Nike has recently partnered with HP to stimulate their already several-year-long experimentation with 3D printing. Tom Clarke, President, Nike Innovation, said, “We are excited to partner with HP to accelerate and scale our existing capabilities as we explore new ways to manufacture performance products to help athletes reach their full potential.”

Nike is also embodying the bold idea that another man’s trash is another man’s…sneaker? Yes, you heard right, last year over 90% of Nike’s manufacturing material came from recycled trash and are putting their best forward to maximize this process. Specifically, the entity takes material consisting of worn sneakers, plastic bottles and excess scraps around the factory. This process termed as “Nike Grind,” takes sneakers and divides the material into three components through slicing and grinding up used footwear. The separate components, foam, rubber, and fiber, can then be utilized as a source to create shoes or surface material for athletic settings such as tennis courts. Nike’s President and CEO, Mark Parker, is focused on using recycled elements to create sustainable and high-performance designs that would decrease their overall footprint and boost efficiency. This concept termed as, “closed-loop” is in full effect and Parker is excited to achieve their fiscal objectives within the next 5 years which in turn will eradicate the overcrowded landfills polluting the atmosphere and tarnishing our environment.

Earlier this week, Olivier Rousteing, French fashion designer and the creative director of haute couture Fashion House Balmain, partnered with Nike to produce their exclusive model inspired by soccer fanatics and fast-paced lifestyles. The unique sneaker titled, NikeLab Free Hypervenom, is filled with eye-catching features with a balanced blend of modern and flashy tones perfect for sports or leisure. Observers can quickly spot traces of the high-end nature seen in Balmain far surpassing the classic allure of previous models. The most noticeable feature is the oversized gold swoosh matched with its metallic black finish radiating an elegant yet athletic feel.

In their efforts to promote a more sustainable workplace, Nike announced this week that their facility in Belgium would become the most expansive and environmentally-agile distribution center in the world. This section of the supply-chain will be so robust; it will single-handedly serve its partners stationed in nearly 40 different countries. Eric Spunk, Nike COO, stated in a press release that the “expansion of our European Logistics Campus demonstrates our commitment to bring the full range of Nike products to consumers more quickly, where and when they want it.” A key feature of this facility is its use of 100% renewable energy and source energy from wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric and biomass with enough electricity to power 5,000 homes. Nearly 100% of its waste will be recycled on-site, and even the walkways are produced from reused footwear. And that’s not all but every aspect is fine-tuned for max sustainability.

Nike’s partnership with HP represents a turning point in innovative design that has the capability to significantly simplify the creation process. In conjunction with their strategies for a more sustainable future, all we can tell Nike at this point is, “Just do it!”

What do you think of Nike’s latest news? We would love to hear from you. Just connect with us on Twitter or Facebook.

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