Bobux logo black - case study circular economy in fashion

Creating the best shoes
for a new generation of sharing

At XLabs, Bobux explored how they might find a solution for the 1 million pairs of children <7 shoes that go to landfill every year.

By applying Circular by Design methods they landed on a completely new business model and service platform that will extend the use of their shoes from one, to three walks of life. Shifting customers from being buyers to custodians.

CBD methods:
Closed Loop Systems
Shoe design
Waste reduction
Circular business models
Network participation

The Team:
Sam Burton
Nicola Williamson 
Robert van Garderen

The Challenge ­–

Every year, two to three pairs of shoes per child are thrown into landfill if they are not cared for properly. In New Zealand, that’s well over one million pairs of shoes for every child under seven.

Sometimes they’re discarded after only four to six months of wear. That’s a lot of shoes. How might we remove this end-of-life product waste with our customers?

At Bobux, our shoes are designed with care and quality to last, but they’re not always treated that way. Because we put so care much into our product, we’ve started to ask the question, where do our shoes go once they’ve been outgrown? What happens when they leave their first pair of feet? And how can we redesign the impact of that?

Team Bobux at XLabs Live
Man and woman from Bobux sitting at table looking at Sprint resources

The Journey ­–

Our curiousity led us here. We believe imagination, creativity and adventure will make the world a better place, it’s simply at the heart of how we work. So we saw XLabs, New Zealand’s first circular economy lab, as a great place to explore more ways of doing just that.

First here in New Zealand, and then scaling up across our global presence.
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The Solution ­–

Our solution is a circular platform that enables each pair of Bobux shoes to be bought, worn and loved, before being returned, repaired and resold for their next walk of life – all with the utmost care of us and our Bobux community working together.
There are three pillars to our solution:

Sharing Mindset
– We’re encouraging our customers to become custodians
Circular Service
– By enabling easier returns, repairs and resale of high-quality children’s shoes
Accessible Product
– With a range of new, nearly new and well-loved shoes, each designed with modular and fixable features such as removable straps and fixable soles.

Bobux on cover of Time Magazine - mockup of their vision to be leaders in Circular Economy

The Ambition ­–

Our ambition is to build a community around this solution and platform – to create large scale, global impact by leading a new generation of sharing. One that reflects and renews the values of kaitiakitanga.

The potential impact of this is huge. By the end of 2021, we aim to have 3 countries in our system with 10,000 pairs of shoes on their 2nd or 3rd walk of life.

Ultimately, our work is driven by purpose. We’re here to create the best shoes in the world for growing feet. But now we’re taking it even further, by helping you share the shoes your kids outgrow, with their next little adventurer, (and their next and their next and their next…!)