Nike Refurbished – A new green initiative

Nike Refurbished – a new green incentive is Nike̵7;s way to take over the second-hand market.The second-hand apparel market is expected to reach $64 Billion by the end of 2024 and is forecasted to take over the fast fashion industry by 2029 – and Nike’s Refurbished program is perfectly aligned to take a big stake out of that market valuation.

An increasing trend of Gen Z shoppers and millennials don’t really care if the clothes that they’re wearing are new or second-hand – and Nike knows this, which is why they’re in the perfect position to take advantage of this opportunity. 

While we think of Nike as the “Swoosh” brand that was present with us in all of the iconic sports moments, we sometimes fail to see that Nike is a business that is run for-profits. A company that produces hundreds of millions of sneakers every year and makes billions in revenue. A company that has a supply chain that spans numerous countries. Within this humongous supply chain, there are leakages within which lead to swarms of materials and waste being dumped in landfills and polluting the land. 

Unfortunately, in the fashion business, the environmental impact is taken for granted. From the consumer’s point of view, throwing out clothes or shoes doesn’t seem too big of a deal but when these clothes end up in a landfill – that’s where the problem starts. 

Move To Zero

Nike understands the significant impact it has on the environment and therefore has been trying to reduce its carbon footprint through the introduction of Nike Move To Zero – which is an effort towards zero carbon and zero waste. The swoosh brand has been recycling materials and creating shoes out of waste and those recycled materials. The flag bearer for Nike’s greener initiative is probably the Space Hippie sneaker. 

Nike Grind

The Space Hippie was released initially in 2020 and it has worked its way into the hearts of the consumers. It looks good, feels good, and most importantly, is made out of recycled material. This was possible through Nike Grind – another initiative by Nike to reuse waste. 

Nike Refurbished – Explained

If both of these initiatives weren’t enough, in comes Nike Refurbished. Launched in 2021, Nike Refurbished is a way to expand the life of Nike’s sneakers. Currently, the program is only available at 15 stores in the U.S. but Nike does have plans of scaling it should it become popular. Here’s how it works: 

Nike expands the life span of three kinds of sneakers: “Like New” (sneakers that have only been worn probably once or twice and are in terrific condition), “Gently Worn” (sneakers that show signs of aging and have been worn considerably longer), and “Cosmetically Flawed” (sneakers that deserve a complete makeover). After customers return the sneakers to Nike, the shoes are evaluated and then refurbished by hand to look as good as new.

How It Works

After they have been refurbished, they’re given different condition grades. Finally, based on the type of sneaker and the grade it has received, Nike prices them and resells them in its stores. The packaging also lists out everything one would need to know about the sneaker to get a good idea of the value they’re receiving.

Finally, the sneakers are covered under Nike’s 60 Day Wear Test which means that within 60 days the sneakers can be returned. For those shoes that cannot be refurbished, Nike donates them or recycles them using Nike Grind and reuses them in products such as rubber flooring, outdoor courts, and other shoes. 

The question that might pop-up in the minds of some sneakerheads would be if whether or not this initiative impacts the reselling community. The short answer is no. Nike Refurbished is not targeting the resale community but is primarily a CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) program – a way to build goodwill. Platforms such as GOAT will still be the go-to choice for individuals when they want to get their hands on the most exclusive and rare releases.



According to Moody’s, a rating agency, companies are facing increased public scrutiny for the damages that they have been doing to the environment. Sentiments of shareholders are shown through a drowning stock price and negative publicity only adds fuel to the fire. We have to give kudos to Nike for always being the first (no matter how late) in promoting a good social cause and making money off of it.

In conclusion, while Nike’s carbon footprint is significantly high, it’s nice to see them making moves to create a greener impact. Over the span of 4-5 years, Nike has been launching different programs to show that they truly care about the environment and Nike Refurbished is just another one of those programs. Time will only tell if this is a hit or a miss because currently, customers aren’t given any monetary incentives to trade in their sneakers. 


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Haider Tahir

Haider first discovered the sneaker market a few years back by accident and has ever since been intrigued by how the market flows and moves. His favorite sneaker is the Jordan 1.


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