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Clean design that speaks for itself

Eco-design has hit a noteworthy milestone: It's no longer compelled to brag. Next month, for example, Nike is due to launch a performance shoe, the Soaker, with some very enviro-friendly features: snap-in midsoles that enable easy disassembly for recycling, 100% recycled laces, and "green rubber" that has 96% fewer toxins. But the Soaker leaves those benefits implicit; it's a green product without the green sheen. Lorrie Vogel, general manager of Nike's Considered team, which seeks to intertwine design innovation and conservation, says the overall goal for products like the Soaker is to deliver more from less: less energy, less waste, and fewer chemicals. In fact, Nike has almost completely eliminated PVCs and reduced the use of chemical organic solvents by 95% in all of its products. Apparently, it just did.