Nike’s sneaker cleaning robot is like a car wash for shoes


If you use a damp cloth and soap to clean your dirty sneakers, you’re stuck in 2021. Check out BILL (Bot Initiated Longevity Lab), Nike’s new robotic system for cleaning and repairing insteps.

At first glance, Big BILL looks like Rube Goldberg’s ultimate machine (a contraption intentionally designed to complicate a simple task). Nike, however, insists that BILL not only cleans shoes, but deep cleans and repairs them, extending their lifespan and contributing to the company’s efforts to produce equipment that can be rebuilt and reused.

Fix me, BILL.


BILL enters the sneaker scene as robots do everything from clean our floors to try on bras for us and easily surpass us in parkour and back somersaults.

Once a shoe is loaded into BILL, the machine creates a digital 3D model of the shoe that determines which parts need cleaning the most with the bot’s large, multicolored brushes. If the shoe has torn spots, buyers can select recyclable polyester patches to repair the wear. For a personal touch, Nike store employees are adding new linings and laces made from recycled materials. The process takes up to 45 minutes from start to finish.

The machine is currently undergoing a trial at Nike Town London, where customers can use it for free. “People will go out of their way to take care of their favorite shoes,” said Noah Murphy-Reinhertz, sustainability manager at Nike NXT, in a statement. “Fixing a product is a way to extend our memory with a product. We see BILL as a tool to be able to do that.”

BILL can currently clean the Air Force 1, Air Jordan 1, Space Hippie 01 and Nike Dunks, but may struggle to handle these Nike NFT Cryptokicks which sold for $130,000 earlier this year.

A round brush cleans a shoe in Nike's BILL shoe cleaning machine

Your shoes will never receive this level of attention again.

Alex Kurunis/Nike


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