In London, Nike's new in-store robot cleans and repairs sneakers

Making its debut at Nike Town London, Bot Initiated Longevity Lab — or B.I.L.L. for short — aims to extend the life of sneakers through better maintenance. After a shoe is loaded into the robot, it creates a 3D scan that pinpoints areas that need deep cleaning or show wear and tear. B.I.L.L. cleans and dries the shoe and applies patches to the upper, as selected by the customer.

The patches are made of recycled polyester and are brightly colored, allowing for customization and following the sashiko method of visible mending. Once the robot is done, a Nike store associate adds new liners and laces made from recycled materials. 

Operating as a trial, B.I.L.L. will be cleaning and patching in the London store through the end of September. The service is free of charge for shoppers and currently works with Air Force 1s, Air Jordan 1s, Space Hippie 01s and Nike Dunks.

B.I.L.L. cleaning a shoe with floppy brushes like those used in car washes

Trend Bite

In response to fast fashion's negative impacts and the rising cost of living, consumers increasingly demand longevity from the products they purchase.
 
For retailers, maintenance and repair services like Nike's B.I.L.L. aren't just a path to less wasteful consumerism. They also create opportunities to drive store visits and reengage with customers. Expect service stations to pop up in more (flagship) stores and, better yet, see brands partnering to offer mending, like Patagonia's new repair center in Amsterdam.

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