Friday, 30 March 2012

Air Time

Since an aerospace engineer named Frank Rudy inserted a gall-filled polyurethane capsule into the sole of the Nike Air Tailwind in 1979, the footwear industry has been revolutionised over the course of three storied decades. The legacy of this technological breakthrough has seen renewed attempts in defining what it means to be 'light on your feet'. The rest of this post could easily be dedicated to any one of the 12 Nike air sole units pictured above. All 12 stand in testament to Nike being at the forefront in continually developing this initial invention of 1979. The cynic within us all would accredit such achievements to the original conception and patenting of the technology by Nike but in reality it has not prevented others from trying. After all the engineering may be patentable but the air is anybodies to play around with as Feiyue have recently demonstrated with their flying project of 2011.     


Friday, 16 March 2012

Pencils, Pens & Paper?

Tinker Hatfield designing the Nike Vapor 9 on his iPad

This following extract is taken from an interview with Tinker Hatfield:

“A couple of years ago, I sat down with Roger Federer in Paris after the French Open and designed a shoe right in front of him on the iPad in like 30 minutes. He was like, ‘How did you do that?’”
“I had a meeting with him, and I sketched the shoe right in front of him. I then went back to my hotel, dolled it up a little bit more and sent it back to him. So, he got another drawing that was even more wild, and he freaked out. He couldn’t believe it. That’s the Vapor 9. For tennis, it’s a revolutionary, new shoe.” 
It's hard not to admire the creative and technical abilities of Tinker Hatfield. His ability to design a shoe within the time constraints of an hour certainly flirts with the rhetoric of hyperbole. At the same time it raises the issue of where and what exactly eats up so much time to keep the sneaker enthusiasts waiting for a new release... production, advertising, testing? Who knows?

Digressions aside, I simply wanted to illustrate the "Tinker Way" of old, where images are more powerful than the word and what is achievable with a pencil, pen and some paper.

On top of that there is more than one way to skin a cat...

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Running | The Science

With many brands trying to make innovations in the running industry, minimalism seems to be the design brief for all, especially since the arrival of Vibram's barefoot series. It seems Adidas is at the forefront of this race with their Adidas AdiPure Adapt. The facts are very impressive. Weighing in at 4.5 ounces, this shoe is not only light in weight but molds to your feet, which gives you a more natural fit. It is certainly easy to get seduced by the futuristic look of the Adapt with it's barely there aesthetic but it might be a case of form over function. 

The video up top is of heel-striking, which is what most runners do. As the runner is in motion the impact of each stride is absorbed primarily by the heel. The high impact blast that travels up the leg on heel impact is equivalent to two times the runners body weight or someone taking a hammer and pounding the heel of the runner repeatedly. By running barefoot, you tend to adjust away from this kind of impact which our muscles and joints cant really absorb. Instead a toe strike is adopted to compensate for the pain caused by the problematic heel strike as seen in the running style of sprinters. But there are problems. To effectively adopt a toe strike running style a basic speed has to be reached for this technique and style to be comfortable, natural and effective. If this speed is not reached it is inevitable that the heel strike technique has to be used. If the Adapt is genuinely going to be considered as the future of runners it needs to offer a more robust cushioning system to absorb this shock. It would seem that the problem faced by designers to make the shoe lighter without it compensating the comfort and security of the shoe has yet to be satisfactorily answered. 

Monday, 12 March 2012

Customs | The Process

Its a common misconception that customising sneakers is difficult. If you don't believe me watch the video.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Sneaker Art | Custom Mural

Artist collaborations are one of the few instances that imagination and sneaker design are pitted against each other with little regard to the sometimes messy and chaotic nature of the outcomes. The lack of commercial pressures and viability instigates artistic license that more mainstream releases somewhat circumvent. A collaboration to raise its ugly head and get noticed of late is shoe customizer Sekure D’s recent offering for skate conscious brand Globe. The piece marks Sekure D’s third collaboration with Globe and the Mace Hi Nitrocel. Untamed by theme or style, Sekure D blends graphics, symbols and text within an underlying current of street art to craft a design of lasting integrity. (VIDEO AFTER THE BREAK)