Design and Society: Nike Shoes

Topics: LearningProject

The following example essay on “Design and Society: Nike Shoes” discussing the life cycle of shoes, more specifically towards a certain famous brand called Nike who’ve really taken the initiative to be trend setters for a better carbon foot print in society.


Many people own shoes and quite a number of them add more to their collection. The misfortune is that many of us want more and more causing the planet to suffer due to poor environmental decisions.

How are Nike Shoes Made?

Nike produces in over 4 countries, mainly being third world countries meaning things like material and labour are relatively cheap than if they were to be manufactured in the wealthier countries like the States(Kaufman, 2016) .

Materials used are:

  • Polyester
  • Rubber
  • Eva foam
  • Cotton

Most of these materials are environmentally friendly and if not they are used with great caution towards the environment.

Process used to make their shoesHow are Nike shoes made? Most Nike shoes are made by cold cement c Nikes cold cement shoe construction allows the use of modern lightweight plastic, foam, and mesh materials due to the low temperatures required for bonding the upper to the shoe sole construction process.

Cold cement is the modern updated style of shoe construction (How Shoes are made: The Sneaker Factory, 2017).

Cold Cement Shoe Assembly Process

The shoe upper can be prepared with the strobel bottom. For this classic jogger style, the outsole covers the edge upper so a strobel bottom can be used to make the shoe lighter and more flexible.

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The upper is steamed to soften the materials and the last is inserted and pulled tight. Once the last is tight inside the upper a second lasting machine pulls the heel edge.

While the upper is being lasted the sole unit is being prepared. In this case, the rubber sheet sole is combined with the EVA foam cushioning component cemented inside. This is done in a separate process thats called stock fitting. Now that the upper is lasted tightly and the outside unit is complete, the two pieces come together. The rubber sole unit will receive coatings of primer and cement.

After the contact cement and primer has been completely dried in the heating tunnels the two pieces are joined together by hand. The shoe will have 3 pressing operations, usually, all done with one machine. After the cooling tunnel, a shoe de-lasting machine is used to push the last out of the shoe without wrinkling the upper. Now the sneaker is complete.

How a product is made does not only mean the manufacturing process but the ethical dealings of each and every step taken to produce the product then into society. The reason why this is such a big issue is because of countries like Indonesia that produce the majority of this companies products and yet the distribution of money does not correspond with the large sum of profits made by the company with labourers who live on R17.80 a day which is just enough for a meal and maybe a couple things which is poor exchange for a human quality to life.

How does Nike Affect Society?

Nike has to recognise cultural considerations that present in todays society. Some of the core 21st century values are relevant to Nikes acceptance in the market place, such as activities, fitness and health, progress, and achievement as seen in figure 3 which is really motivating when one has to consider that Nike stands for all these aspects .

Athletes running in Nike shoesThere is a culture of people referred to as  sneakerheads, who are avid sneaker collectors .These people await the release of new sneakers more than the typical person looking for shoes to protect their feet.

Nike makes an effort to market and promote their sneakers towards their sneaker head market because they acknowledge and understand that this market get excited about a release, making Nike tons of money because they understand the desire for one to have more and play on the subconscious of people that once the product makes you enter in another phase of society that worships materialism, even more evident in social media (Nike, Inc., 2019).

The material, branded Nike Grind, is made from recycled sneakers, plastic bottles and manufacturing scraps from Nikes factories. Old shoes, collected through the companys Reuse-A-Shoe program, are sliced into three parts and then ground into rubber bits, foam or a fluffy fibre. Besides using the materials in the companys own products, Nike sells them to buyers who use them to line running tracks, playgrounds, gym and weight room floors and carpet underlay (Kaufman, 2016).

The company has since pursued a holistic approach to reforming its supply chain. Nike cut down on the number of factories it works with, in hopes of gaining more control over the manufacturing process so it could raise its standards for both working conditions and environmental impact. Last year, 86 percent of contract factories met the minimum requirements for sustainability and investment in workers, Nike said. It hopes to raise that to 100 percent by 2020 (, 2018).


Nike has made some serious improvements over the years that have had some positive impacts on the world and the business community. Not only has it made the world aware of the injustices that have occurred at sweatshops, but it has also invested in many communities around the world to help those in need.


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  2. How Shoes are Made: The Sneaker Factory. (2017). How are Nike Shoes Made? Cold Cement Construction – How Shoes are Made: The Sneaker Factory. [online] Available at: [Accessed 29 Jul. 2019].
  3. K. (2007, October 13). Vietnam Factory. Retrieved September 21, 2018
  4. Kaufman, A. (2016). HuffPost is now a part of Oath. [online] Available at: [Accessed 29 Jul. 2019].
  5. Nike, Inc. (2019). Cultural Influences on Nike+. [online] Available at: [Accessed 29 Jul. 2019].
  6. Nike. (n.d.). Nike Manufacturing Map: Retrieved September 26, 2018
  7. Swoosh Life. (n.d.). Retrieved September/October, 2018, from world-headquarters-oregon
  8. The Ohio State University: Nike Shoes. (n.d.).
  9. Tour Nike’s World Headquarters Campus. (2018, March 21). Retrieved September 21, 2018

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Design and Society: Nike Shoes. (2019, Dec 02). Retrieved from

Design and Society: Nike Shoes
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