I still remember, the first athletic shoes that I got were Nikes and even though many brands have been getting popularity now, most of us still rely on Nike for comfortable and long-lasting shoes.
But have you ever wondered where these shoes are made? My answer was “No” until I started research on it. In the back of my mind, I had this thought that since Nike is a US-based company, so the shoes must be made in the U.S, but surprisingly that’s not the case.
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Most Nike shoes are not made in the United States, instead, they are manufactured in 14 countries with 96% of the Nike shoe manufacturing factories in China, Indonesia and Vietnam.
According to a report, there are 72 factories in China where Nike shoes are manufactured, which makes up almost 15% of the overall number of their factories. Apart from 30 varieties of shoes, Chinese factories make 42 varieties of Nike apparel which are then distributed all over the world.
The company started in 1964 by Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight in Washington country, Oregon. Initially, the company was not making their own shoes, instead, they were working as shoe distributors for Japanese shoes.
Later on, they decided to start manufacturing their own shoes and the first shoe was made with the help of waffle iron. They used it as mold and created grooves in the sole. These grooves helped athletes in getting the grip on the floor while running which later on became the key features of the Nike shoes: grip, cushion, and lightweight.
This shoemaking journey which started from the University of Oregon is now holding around 60% of the market share. However, the majority of the factories that produce Nike shoes are not owned by Nike.
Nike hires and pays them to make its shoes. According to an estimate, there are around 131,615 employees of Nike around the world that are 14% of the total workforce of the world. As mentioned earlier Nike shoes are manufactured abroad, Nike makes sure maximum reuse of material through its 85% delivery in lean manufacturing lines.
With its lean lines manufacturing chains, it saves up to 900 million units per year, which gives an extra edge to the company’s profit. Also, Nike is working with the objective of maximum profit with minimum environmental impact.
How are Nike Shoes made?
Nike shoes are made of polyester, rubber, Eva foam, cotton, synthetic leather, and leather. Since Nike is aiming to gain the status of a sustainable shoe and apparel brand, it is minimizing its effects on climate and environment by making sure that most of its material is recycled.
According to a report, 19% of the polyester is recycled to make Nike shoes and 82 million water bottles are recycled to produce polyester for shoes. Besides, Nike is utilizing 70% of environmentally produced rubber that comes from Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.
In addition, Nike is also getting organic cotton with no pesticides, no fertilizers and no synthetic chemicals in China, India, Turkey and the USA. It has also started using fly leather instead of grain leather due to its lesser carbon footprint, more durability, and lightweight.
Though Nike shoes are manufactured overseas, Nike has its own shoe designers, developers and engineers as well. Therefore all the designs and styles are created by its own designers, all materials are selected by its developers and everything is then forwarded to the factories to proceed with the making.
The company delivers all the required materials to the factories which are mainly in China all the way from the US. After the products are made and packed, Nike’s distributors make sure their availability in 1,152 stores across the globe.
The common method that is used in manufacturing Nike shoes is a cold cement assemble, which is a high-energy procedure. The procedure is followed by the attachment of the upper part to the shoe by glue under high mechanical pressure. And the sewing, sock lining and finishing are done. Owing to its fine quality, the products are inspected carefully to avoid any loss.
How can you spot fake Nikes?
It is evident that with the rapid growth in e-commerce, big brands are becoming the main target of scammers to earn money. As we know Nike is very popular among people due to its sporty designs, cushioning quality, and gripping support, many sellers are coming up with fake Nike shoes with no such qualities.
They are just looting people by selling exact replicas, and consumers are ending up losing their money on fake Nike shoes.
Here are a few tips to spot fake Nike shoes and stay away from such scam:
- Whenever you are planning to buy Nike shoes, you should prefer getting them from authorized online or in-person stores. In many cases, people buy them from unauthorized sellers and they end up getting a replica.
- Many scammers sell the big brands at extremely low prices to attract the consumers, so you should make sure that you do not fall prey to their trap. Nike shoes are never too cheap, even their discounts are not cheap.
- When you inspect a shoe, the replica would be stiff, while the original Nike shoe will not be stiff and it would be lightweight.
- The midsoles of the original Nike shoes will never be sewed, instead, it is glued so that it can cushion the arch properly. Some fake varieties are found sewed in their midsoles, so they can be easily spotted.
- Nike uses rubber for its outsoles to provide maximum traction. On the other hand, fake replicas are usually made of plastics due to low budget.
- In other words, be careful while buying Nike shoes. Look for small details, the prints in logos, the uncomforting feel, uneven stitches, and quality of material inside and out.
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