It’s hard to believe any brand would want to keep its environmental efforts a secret in this day and age. Nearly every business touts its green-ness, even when most of it is greenwashing and they aren’t deserving of it. But it’s almost the exact opposite for Nike, who quietly launched a revamped version of the Air Jordan with a sole that is made from old Nike shoes itself.
Ever since Nike’s “Considered” line of environmentally friendly shoes completely flopped when they were introduced in 2005, they’ve steered clear of mentioning sustainability when trying to sell runners. Their reasoning is simple: people who are buying Air Jordans care about jumping higher – not saving a few pairs of shoes from the landfill. According to Nike’s green business practice director, it’s a policy of doing more and saying less.
But don’t count Nike out just yet – even though they may not be slapping sustainability stickers all over their sneakers, they’re still doing their part to raise awareness about the issues they’re combatting, albeit behind the scenes. Take for instance the shoemaker’s recently launched Beat Gasoline campaign. The standalone site allows users to upload pictures or videos that show their way of promoting physical activity over driving. Some would argue that this approach has a far greater effect than recycling shoes, in that it targets the people who actually care about the issues.
On the other hand, chances are Nike reuses old soles primarily to cut costs, and they don’t advertise the sustainability of the shoes because a lot of would-be-buyers may think the shoes made of recycled materials are inferior to the Reeboks made of first-generation materials sitting one aisle over.
Regardless, Nike deserves to be commended for finding a useful purpose for old soles, and maybe even more-so for not bragging about it.