Thursday, 5 April 2012

The Missing Shoe?

No one wants to be slow. The three videos that I have selected all share a general narrative that explores and celebrates what speed means to the human experience. Taken from Nike's the Art of Speed project, they all individually explore this phenomenon but crucially their scripts are left blank as to what tools (namely their footwear) might most benefit their athletic goals. It is thus up to us to best consider what shoe would be ideally suited to the physical demands of each athlete.

To commence proceedings we start with Cary Murnion & Jonathan Millot's 'Shortest Race'. From start to finish the shortest race is only 39.9" long. This concept turns the idea of a race upside down - anyone can compete in arguably any shoe. The film explores different philosophies about training for an event that's never been run before. The array in types of footwear reflects each of these individual philosophies from a Nike Dunk Low to the Nike Zoom MaxCat. Shot like a classic sporting event, every finish is a photo finish for what is a one stride race - cutting right to what everyone waits to see: the finish.  

Had I attended this prestigious meet myself, my footwear of choice would have been the rather serious Nike Free 3.0. V4 'Dark Grey'. With its low-profile Free 3.0 Phylite sole alongside a matching seamless booty and laces and a dark grey overlay that replaces the Dynamic Fit System of the Free Run+ 3 for of a more barefoot-like feel would definitely guarantee me a podium finish. (MORE VIDEOS AFTER THE BREAK)

The next offering is an adrenaline infused take on the tortoise and the hare parable by Stefan Nadelman titled 'One Step Ahead'. It shows an eagle eyed commuter struggling to stay ahead of those he's commuting against. Whenever he gets trapped, he can barely contain himself and several times, he has to literally burst out of the confining space - be it the subway, bus or stairwell. Freedom, seed, the rush and victory are all explored in the context of a modern world which seems bent on reducing us to inaction. 

The sense of urgency and competition in a single commute is no dissimilar to that of any race. If a comparison is to be properly made then a commute to work and back again can seem like a daily marathon. It would thus make the most sense for our overly competitive and eagle eyed friend to equip himself with a shoe designed to last long enough for the length of a single marathon. Like the insect from which it gets its name, the Nike Mayfly would live, breed and die all in one day, guaranteeing any commuter to be the first in and first out. 

The third and final video titled 'Obstacle Course' is a childlike look at human agility and coordination by David Ahuja. This film brings to life the fantasy of having super human agility in a kid's dream world made of blocks. Like an athlete, each time the hero is challenged or chased, he summons inner strength to escape - to run faster, jump higher.

Speed, agility and coordination are a way of life in the obstacle course-like world that David has created in his film. Without these skills, you're liable to fall into the bright green wooden jaws of a creature made of children's blocks. Your chances of survival are also made that little bit harder by playing barefoot as even David's character is prone to the odd fall, slip and stumble. The truth is you wouldn't find Bo Jackson playing without any footwear. In all honesty he probably would be waring a pair of Nike Air Barrages. You can never be too prepared even if that be for a kids dream world.   

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