In my last blog I looked into the bussinessmodel side of the design. In this blog I will focus on the product and on the possible future steps.
But first a small recap about the idea: a modulair shoe, where the customer can swap out different parts. This allows to easily replace broken parts of the shoe, extending the life time of the whole shoe. Moreover it gives the customers the opportunity to customize their shoes on a daily basis. Red shoes with these pants? Swap out the blue modules. Choose different designs and combine them to make your sneakers unique!
This could fit a business model that uses a services where you can exchange your old modules for new ones. Presented as a totally new company in the footwear industry, trying to compete with Nike and Adidas.
But I choose to do not. The goal is to stimulate an industry to think in a different way about their product. A sustainable way, with advantages for the company, customer and the earth. I belief that the best way to do this, is to start with the industry leaders. If they make small changes, it gives a huge impact due to the high number of sales.
These companies want concepts that are easy to implement within the current business model. They won’t change their business model completely. The risk is simply too high.
That is why I choose for a business model that could go side by side with their normal business. Just like the customization concepts such as Nike id or mi Adidas.
The different modules can be brought in a store, online or at an outlet where you can find the modules of last season. By bringing your old module you get a discount on a new one. This gives the opportunity to recycle old modules in a way that most of their value is preserved and prevent that customers buy counterfeit modules from other companies.
In this way customers have the ability to customize and personalize their shoes, by buying several modules that are interchangeable. The footwear company has the advantage of selling multiple modules instead of one pair of shoes. And in the end the shoes have an extended product and fashion life time what generates less waste and a better use of raw materials.
The shoes exist out of the following modules: Back part, front part, sole, laces and tongue. It is important that the modules have a proper connection. That is why I looked into different ways to connect them. In the end the following I found as most suitable.
The tongue will be attached with small press studs to the front part. In this way it is easy and fast to replace.
The laces will be like in a normal shoe, because this is already simple to take out.
The sole will be the main part of the shoe where other parts are build on. It exists out of a outer sole and a innersole. The front and back modules
will lock in the outer sole by simply sliding the front or back module in. The softer inner sole covers the connections, making it comfortable to walk on. The outer sole goes a bit higher than at a normal shoe, to get more stability.
Front and back part
The front and back part will be attached to each other with strong Velcro. The lower part is made of a stiff material to easily put them in the shoe and give stability to the module.
The several blogs I posted are the first step to create a shoe that fits the circulair economy. But to successfully launch the product, more research is needed. Not only about how to manufacture the modules but also the product design needs improvement. The connections presented above are the first explorations that needs to be refined. The connections should be designed more user friendly and easier to use. Also more modules should be designed. It could be valuable to unite the modules with technology. This gives the opportunity to integrate different sensors, (sports)trackers or health electronics inside the shoes.
Hopefully I have shown that circulair business models are not only for small start ups, but can also fit in a more traditional company and can help creating a more sustainable future.