Whilst we may have an enviable lifestyle (for some) down here in the Great Southern Land, one can’t help but feel a bit left out, a bit isolated, a bit ‘unconsidered’ as it were, when it comes to product innovation.
5-6 or so years ago, Nike was toying with the idea of doing more ecologically responsible shoes, and launched a very limited range of shoes it labeled ‘Nike Considered’. I was excited about these shoes, as most shoes – especially sports shoes – are just a bunch of hydrocarbons that end up as landfill when they wear out. To the point that I have about 15 years of shoes in my wardrobe in various states of (dis)repair, of which I only really wear about 3. The rest just sit there, but I can’t bring myself to toss them out.
At the time, I didn’t have any money for new shoes, but I promised myself that if I did – and of course under the great assumption that they’d make it into shops in Australia – that I’d buy a pair or two.
Unfortunately they never did, and I never did, and before I knew it, in a puff of seemingly deliberate non-proof-of-concept smoke, the Considered line was gone.
Now as my wife will attest, I’m not into feet. I like them covered with shoes. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a phobia, I just appreciate a cool shoe more than I do someone’s feet. They’re just too….functional. Problem is, shoes kinda suck. Like many things, they’ve been ‘over-designed’ – made for 15 bucks, sold for 150. So now a month into my DA course, I’m in a ‘re-evaluation’ mindset, to the point that I’m even considering doing a course in shoe-making.
That was, until I saw these.
The shoes here are the Nike Long Ball Lace shoes. No, you can’t buy them, because Nike decided there was no market for them, sold a few in Japan or whatnot, then apparently squirrelled-away the IP. This, frankly, is insane. If I made shoes, that’s exactly what I’d make. Constructible, deconstructible, ecological, recyclable, great looking – they tick all my ‘good shoe’ boxes. Take the paradigm of these shoes, apply it to anything, and it’s a winner from any perspective.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, right? All Nike is doing, is generating all this niche IP (or perhaps more aptly, all possible directional future IP) developing it, making a few ducats, and then when it doesn’t gain traction, (make ‘surprised’ face) they shelve it. This then gives them a huge library of patents to draw from, limits the viability of niche companies, allows them to control the dissemination of ideas, and probably a raft of other shitty things I haven’t thought of. Including justification to pursue shittier designs that make more money.
“Yeah we tried eco shoes, nobody wanted them” etc.