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Nike debuts robot-powered system to extend life of sneakers

By Rachel Douglass


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Image: Nike, BILL

Nike has revealed a robot-augmented system in its Nike Town London store designed to clean and repair shoes with the goal of extending their lifecycle.

‘Bot Initiated Longevity Lab’ (BILL) is part of the retailer’s latest efforts in steering towards a circular future, with the robot’s primary purpose set out to be helping Nike reduce its impact on the planet.

“The thing is, maintaining old product is deeply personal. People will go to great lengths to care for their favourite shoes. Repairing a product is a way to extend our memory with a product,” said Noah Murphy-Reinhertz, sustainability lead of Nike NXT, in a release.

He continued: “We see BILL as a tool for being able to do that. Robots can do things that are tough to do by hand, but when we use robotics as part of a recycling technology, we still want the service to be personal.”

The pilot technology is currently able to work on a selection of Nike shoes styles, including Air Force 1s and Air Jordan 1s.

Once a shoe is loaded into the system, the robot follows a 3D digital model of the style allowing it to pinpoint specific areas in order for it to be repaired and cleaned.

The brand’s store employees will then supply shoppers with new liners and liners made from recycled materials, Nike said in its release.

The service, which will be available to use throughout September, will be free of charge for visitors, while also providing insights to Nike informing on future sustainable initiatives.

Circular Fashion