Nike’s New Sneaker Packaging goes for Recycled Plastics, Avoiding Added Chemicals.
Nike has partnered with Taiwanese architect and engineer Arthur Huang to design “sustainable and responsible” Air Max packaging made from recycled drink containers and lids.
The lightweight shoebox, which was released for the brand’s annual Air Max Day, is made to neatly interlock for stacking or display. It is created using plastics derived from leftover consumer packaging and is manufactured with no added chemicals.
“It cushions while at the same time reducing material usage,” said Huang, who is CEO of Miniwiz – a Taiwan and Berlin-based studio dedicated to finding new uses for waste, and reducing the impact of materials on the environment. “In this case, we’re adding features and efficiency to an existing product and by re-using non-virgin materials in a sustainable and responsible way,” states Huang.
The top of the box splits diagonally in half, with a central section that keeps the shoes in one place. Extra holes in the packaging allow owners to thread rope through and reuse the box as a backpack or carry bag. It can also be recycled. The packaging is made specifically for the Air Max Royal 01, designed by Huang. The shoes – which are also made only from recycled materials and are said to be the lightest ever Air Max 1 – were unveiled in New York earlier in the year, alongside designs by Marc Newson and Riccardo Tisci sneakers.
“What we do here is very simple, we try to use the stuff we throw away and turn that into the most sustainable way with the least carbon footprint to create a new product,” said Huang. “It’s all about turning pollution into a solution for the future.”
Huang set up Miniwiz in 2005 with fellow structural engineer Jarvis Liu, with the aim of showing how post-consumer waste could find a second life as the next generation of products. The studio previously collaborated with Nike on an installation that used Flyknit material to create a brightly coloured web in a rusting gas tower.
Miniwiz, which recently opened a new office in Berlin decked out with recycled interiors, has also created a hand-cranked power generator made from re-purposed electronic waste plastic and paper, and a brick, made from recycled plastic bottles, that can be used to build fences and roofs.
Several designers have tackled the problem of sustainable packaging, creating everything from six-pack rings made from by-products of the beer-making process that can safely be eaten by marine wildlife, to biodegradable plastic created with algae.