Thinking Outside The (Shoe) Box – Puma’s “Clever Little Bag”

Puma recently made a bold design move that could revolutionize the shoe industry. Only it wasn’t the shoe, but rather the shoe box, that underwent a major design overhaul.

The shoe box is so common that most people never give it a second thought. Puma realized that the vast amount of waste created by the single-use shoe box (and possibly also an opportunity to increase manufacturing profitability). They assigned a team of designers, headed by Yves Behar, to tackle the problem.

By focusing on the bag and making the box a reusable shell for transportation, Puma has made a fundamental shift in the way we think about environmental packaging and the changing retail landscape. Exactly how great is the expected impact?

According to Puma, “The introduction of Puma’s innovative packaging and distribution system will reduce the paper used for the shoeboxes by 65% and carbon emissions by 10,000 tons per year – the remaining packaging materials used will be fully sustainable by 2015. As a result of the 65% paper reduction through the Clever Little Bag concept, Puma will reduce water, energy and diesel consumption on the manufacturing level by more than 60% per year. In other words: approximately 8,500 tons less paper will be consumed, 20 million Megajoules of electricity saved, 1 million liters less of fuel oil used, and 1 million liters of water saved. During transport, 500,000 liters of diesel is saved, and lastly, due to the replacement of traditional shopping bags with the lighter built-in bag, the difference in weight can save up to 275 tons of plastic.”

The retail packaging launch is scheduled for 2011.

Puma has turned the shoe industry on its ear in the name of the greater good. This Clever Little Bag makes me question the innovations and how far we can take them that we may not be able to imagine today. Innovation should support and better the brand experience; however, innovations in the form of products and packaging can do so much more for the world if we have our heads in the right place – or shoe on the right foot. Nicely done, Puma.

– Contributed by Tracy Kollker

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