Trash Shoes Can Dunk
Nike's Trash Talk basketball shoe is just as high-performing as its best shoes -- it can play in the NBA -- but it's made from leftover leather and synthetic leather, foam, and rubber. And it just won Best in Show at the annual International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA), a prize handed out to the iPhone last year.
Best in Shoe
As we previously reported, the shoe meets Nike's Considered design standards for sustainability in the following ways:
1. The upper is pieced together from leather and synthetic leather waste from the factory floor using zig-zag stitching.
2. The mid-sole uses scrap-ground foam from factory production.
3. The outsole uses environmentally-preferred rubber that reduces toxics and incorporates Nike Grind material from footwear-outsole manufacturing waste.
Designed by the Nike team of Kasey Jarvis, Andreas Harlow, Fred Dojan, and Dan Johnson, the shoe got its debut last year on the feet of Phoenix Suns guard and eco-advocate Steve Nash, who will be wearing it again at the start of the next season. A third commercial version is in progress.
It's a smart, sexy and useful design, built around a thoughtful environmental methodology and message -- even if it's a small step in Nike's quest for karmic redemption.
Business Week, a sponsor of the IDEA awards, also knows that Nike is not known for its corporate responsibility.
But the company is trying to gain more traction on the sustainability side. Aside from its recycling program, which generates material for products like the Trash Talk and sports surfaces, the shoe company has sworn off leather from the Amazon and made commitments to improve labor standards, go carbon-neutral and significantly reduce waste by 2011 as part of its Responsibility initiative.
And like Walmart, Nike is so big that any move it makes could reverberate throughout its industry and others. After the company made its no-Amazon pledge last week, Timberland made the same pledge yesterday.
We're eager to see how Nike continues to kick it up.
Last year's run of Trash Talk shoes, sold at select stores, are sold out. Another version is in the pipeline. Find the Trash Talks on eBay.
More Nike and Sustainability on TreeHugger
Nike Considered: Hope for The Sinners?
Nike Considered — Going Cheap
Nike Considered 2007: Take 'Em Outdoors
Peter Senge and the Nike Sustainability Team: In Conversation