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With initiatives like the Nike “Move-To-Zero” series and incorporating new technology like Nike Grind, it really feels like Nike is putting in the work to become more environmentally conscious. Their latest advancement introduces a sustainable packaging solution known as the Nike One Box, a single shoe-box that offers functionality for both delivery and storage.

“Packaging is sometimes an afterthought,” says Rich Hastings, the designer behind Nike’s custom shoe-boxes for more than 20 years. “But what people may not realize is that it can have a huge impact on the environment.”

Over the past couple of years, Hastings has worked with the Nike Space Hippie team – a line of shoes made with up to 50% recycled material by weight. Being that these sneakers were meant to be environmentally conscious, Nike realized they needed to create low-impact packaging to match their future-focused design.

“Space Hippie was the jumping off point,” says Erica Swanson from sustainable product operations. “We wanted to have an innovative system that delivered a shoe in its own container, rather than delivering a box within another box”. 

It’s definitely an odd feeling when you receive your package from Nike and you open a box – just to open another box. The Nike One Box eliminates waste, as well as the double-boxed conundrum.

It’s a simple solution in essence, but Nike knew they had to create an innovative design that would protect the precious cargo packed inside. Hastings and the Space Hippie team initiated a series of engineering exercises, such as crush tests that beat up the box, to ensure that the sustainable box holds up for delivery. Through the testing process, the Nike team was able to develop a stronger container that would become the Nike One Box.

Sometimes it’s the small things that deliver big wins, and the Nike One Box shows how a simple solution can go a long way. Compared to traditional packaging, the One Box offers a 51% reduction in waste for single online orders regardless of the shoe inside. At this time the One Box can house almost any shoe Nike makes, but with time this design function will expand to be the shipping standard from Nike online.

More than just sustainability, the One Box also offers new security benefits, which has been a major concern for Nike customers over the years. The One Box exterior has no visible Nike branding and looks as though it’s just a regular cardboard box.

“It was a strategic choice for security,” says Chris Conklin. “We didn’t want the box advertising that new shoes were sitting on your doorstep.”

Another sustainability feature includes an adhesive strip on the lid of the box to cut down on tape waste. This way if you need to do a return, you no longer have to worry about taping the box up. You can just reseal the box and return the shoes with ease.

The Nike One Box is expected to roll out over the next couple of years. Millions of units are being delivered this year, but that number is only expected to grow through continued testing and refinement. For more sneaker news and updates, follow @NiceKicks on Twitter.

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