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NIKE Continuum

A service that utilizes Nike Grind materials and facilitates a reuse program, eliminating packaging waste.

Photo of Carla Ramirez Sosa
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Our idea is a shoe packaging service that uses Nike Grind materials as the source material for its product to create a circular system. Using existing waste product as its material source, this service recirculates these products through a packaging service to keep them in use for as long as possible. Users receive a Continuum box and packing materials with their shoes when they order or pick up in store. Once they have unpackaged their shoes they can return their box to a nearby drop-off point located in popular urban areas and/or nearby shoe stores. Users would be incentivized to return their packaging through a rewards program and/or deposit on the product. The packaging materials are then picked up and brought back to nearby shoe retailers.

Which Nike Grind materials will your idea utilize?

  • Rubber Outsoles
  • Rubber Flashings
  • Rubber Granulate
  • EVA Foam Sheets & Blocks
  • EVA Foam Components
  • Laminated EVA Foam
  • Laminated PU Foam
  • Footwear Fiber "Fluff"

How specifically will these materials be incorporated into your solution?

We plan to use a variety of these materials to create a higher value version of current shoe packaging components specifically targeting 3 items: • Outer Boxing- using rubber granulate, flashings, and outsoles for maximum durability • Rigid Form Preserver- using various EVA foam pieces for a combination of maleability and rigidity • Inner Stuffing- using “Fluff” and pressing it into a flat fiber/textile that would mimic current tissue paper components

Please include a visual (can be either 2D or 3D) representation/prototype of your concept. (required)

What is the current stage of development of your idea?

  • Research & Early Testing

Describe your target market. Who will benefit from your product?

Our target market is high-end shoe producers with the specific focus on Nike for the pilot launch of our design concept. Users of our system will benefit from reduced cost in packaging as well as a lowered environmental impact that will engage customers.

How will you scale your idea? Please describe in detail your plan to scale your concept.

We are proposing that this concept would have a slow launch as a pilot initiative by Nike in one specific location to test the service design aspect of the system and gain insight into how customers respond to and interact with the system. After the initial launch, we would revisit the design and figure out how best to scale to reach further markets. An obstacle that we foresee is the distribution of packaging materials and maintaining inventory once components are in circulation.

How is your idea innovative?

Our service design concept conforms to the principles of the Circular Economy. While we understand Nike is looking to sell its waste product to outside markets, in order to be truly ‘circular’ they must participate on the waste end of the product life cycle AND material sourcing for their products. By using Nike’s waste for packaging, which Nike already sources, we see it as a responsible way to deal with the waste product internally rather than outsourcing the responsibility to other companies.

What inspired this idea?

We are inspired by initiatives such as Nike Flyknit that reduce waste in the production of shoes but are aware that some shoes still require resource and waste intensive methods of production.

Tell us about yourself and your team. What is your background and experience?

We’re five industrial designers working across diverse industries. After many encounters at NYC-based lectures (i.e. circular economy, OpenIDEO), we recognized our interest in collaborating. This is a perfect opportunity to begin our partnership!

In what city are you located?

Brooklyn, NY

In what country are you located?


Please describe how becoming a Top Idea will support the growth of your concept.

Becoming a Top Idea would give us the time, platform, and materials we need to explore our idea further. We need access to samples in order to prototype and ensure viability. We intend to interview key stakeholders within Nike, alike companies, their packaging vendors, and customers to map how our system would benefit all those involved. We are currently looking into existing models of reuse services- how deposits and rewards programs could incentivize the use of this service.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Bettina Fliegel

Hi Carla Ramirez Sosa and team! Thanks for sharing another great idea on the challenge! I wonder if another idea might be to mail the packaging back for free? (Designing it so that it could be flattened or folded and mailed easily?)

There was a previous OI Challenge on the Circular Economy and many great resources are linked there. Have you seen it? This product/case inspired me!

I saw this tool shared in a comment on someone else's idea. Sharing here.

Good luck developing your ideas!

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