Apr 25, 2022
by James Roberts
Nike’s Simple and Sturdy One Box Cuts Packaging by Half
by James Roberts
Apr 25, 2022

The simplest changes can sometimes make the biggest differences. The latest Nike packaging design might not be the coolest looking thing, but the impact it will have far outweighs any aesthetics.

Nike ships millions of shoes every year. Usually, each of those pairs comes double-wrapped: the iconic Nike shoebox plus a sturdy, plain shipping box to put it in. It always seems a bit ridiculous opening a box within a box. Not to mention the stacks of empty boxes you probably have in your closet, each delicately balanced to hold up the one above. Nike saw this as an opportunity and created the One Box. One delivery-proof box that cuts packaging by half.

In 2020, for the release of the Space Hippie, the Nike packaging design team created a One Box prototype. In keeping with the sneaker’s eco-minded design ethos, they removed the need for the second box.

As with any prototype, there were some issues. Mainly, the box wasn’t strong enough to stand up to the battering it would inevitably get during the shipping process. From dodgy drivers to wet porches, shipping boxes go through a lot. In the next stage of development, the team put the new designs through a load of tests to help them build a stronger, sturdier box.

The One Box is the fruit of that labor. A 51 percent reduction in waste packaging and a box that can house almost any Nike shoe. It’s part of Nike’s Move To Zero campaign – a journey toward zero carbon and zero waste

It’s a simple looking object. There are no graphics on the exterior. But that’s a strategic choice. ​​“We didn’t want the box advertising that new shoes were sitting on your stoop,” says Chris Conklin from Nike packaging design.

An adhesive strip is used to lock down the box. And a second is included so that the customer can easily return the item without having to wrap it up with wasteful tape.

Inside, a white ink is used for graphics to protect the shoes – black ink smudges on any white crepes. And it’s all printed with a process that doesn’t use an abundance of water.

Although the One Box is being made at scale, and is expected to ship millions of Nike shoes this year, it’s still not completely perfect. “Even though it’s large, we’re still in pilot mode,” says Erica Swanson from sustainable product operations at Nike. “There’s opportunity for One Box to evolve over time – how it looks, what it’s used for and how many boxes we can save.”

Next up for the Nike packaging team? They’re thinking about how to reduce the amount of paper that’s used to stuff the toes of shoes. It’s all exciting stuff. We promise.

We don’t know if the new Pegasus Turbo Next Nature will ship in the One Box, but they’re worth checking out anyway.