Matt Jones has written something interesting about “things with an end”. It’s based on the Nike Mayfly - a running shoe with an explicitly declared lifespan of just 100km (about a fifth of the distance of an average running shoe). The box contains an address to send them to so they can be recycled and there’s a part of the shoe that allows you to record the date and location they started their functional life.
That’s the bit I like. It touches on something I’ve been fascinated by since I read Shaping Things. They’re exciting to me because they’re hinting at being spime shoes.
If, like the logo implies, new Mayflies really are made from old ones I’d love to see that information kept somehow. I’d love to see them show how many generations old they are and I’d love to be able to access the stories they might contain.
- Who owned their predecessors?
- Where did they run?
- When did they run?
- How far did they run?
- How fast did they run?
- What personal goals did they achieve?
- What music did they listen to?
- What was the weather like?
- What percentage of the shoe is the original?
It would make recycling a much bigger part of the product as the shoe gathers stories and becomes (potentially) more interesting each time it’s recycled. It would have a birth, death, family tree. History. Legacy. Family. Pedigree even. This could all form part of the back story I suggested when I talked about Emoticomp.
The most interesting thing about this line of thought is that it’s not completely unfeasible. Nike already have a networked service that does some of the things I’m suggesting here but before I get too carried away…
One of the photos shows the recycling address on a slip in the box. It shows where to send the shoes when they’ve expired. It’s exciting to me because it’s the thing that started me thinking about the things I’m talking about here - but it’s disappointing because I think it shows a lack of conviction.
"Nike will not accept shoes delivered with postage due"
Sad. You’d think that some of the cost of the shoe would include the price of posting them back to be recycled. It suggests that these shoes aren’t really built with that in mind at all. They’re highly tuned, disposable shoes and the recycling part is a bit of Nike corporate’n’social responsibility strategy to help mitigate any negative PR that may arise from making a plastic shoe that’ll last a matter of days.
That’s a real shame, because they could be so much more than they are right now.