Thursday, 11 October 2012

Nike SPD | Dan Mather

Out of the 78 creatives chosen to challenge the function of Nike shoes in the Nike 78 project, Dan Mather's attempt to transform a pair of Nike sneakers into cycling shoes may have the greatest repercussions for the sneaker community.  As he rightly states, "cycling shoes are generally designed with one purpose in mind; for transferring power from your foot to the pedal, with most efficiency". Naturally, the balance between aesthetic and function is ignored. For the recreational cyclist who may prefer to priorities aesthetics over function, is currently forced to cycle with a traditional pedal kept either open or to increase performance, worn with clips and straps. In the later set up the shoe is subject to wear, damage and eventual deterioration. This is a dilemma that faces any sneaker enthusiast with a disposition for cycling. Carrying a spare pair may seem like an obvious answer but given the frequency of rides one would have yearly, the impracticality of carrying a spare pair and having to change footwear becomes apparent. So Mather's proposal of marrying a bicycle shoe and a sneaker together is not such a bad idea. To quote him directly again, "Nike shoes are ubiquitous with fashion and popular culture irrespective of sport, so I have transformed my Nikes into a pair of cycling shoes that strike the balance between function and aesthetics, creating a pair of functional, yet desirable sneakers you can wear both on and off the bike".  

Judging from the pictures alone, the finished product is not quite there. The profile of the plate and clip still protrudes too much from the sole of the Waffle Racer. The problem is only compounded further by the clip failing to be of equal measurement to the protrusion of the pimples on the sole. If the shoe was to work as a true hybrid the plate and clip would need to be set deeper into the sole in order accommodate the wearing down of the pimples when walking for an extended period of time. A good example of how the concept might have been executed better is like the image below. 

The exact working methods of Dam Mather are unknown but I will attempt to explain how a better finish could be achieved. 

Firstly the choice of shoe is important for it's integral to avoid the cleat ripping out of the sole from the sheer volume of power transferred between your foot and the pedal. A general rule of thumb is any sneaker with a polyerethane base instead of the regular EVA foam is best as under extreme pressure it doesn't compress as easily. Also Nike Air Zoom technology is a safe bet because the air in the Zoom unit(s) is pressurized, while the regular non-zoom air units are not. If that is all too much to remember the thicker the sole unit the better. The Nike Air Force 1 should be the benchmark. 

Now for the technical details as supplied by Retrofitz:


1) 2 injection molded impact modified nylon plates
2) 2 injection molded Shore 85A TPU rubber bumper
3) 8 stainless steel binding post and screw

Cut placement:

4) Placement of the thru hole dictates cleat placement

Recommended tools:

- steel rule die
- drill alignment fixture with custom 3/8” thick UHMW cutting board
- 3/8” thick UHMW cutting board
- custom ground step drill 0.090”/.1875” with stop gauge
- shoe sole thickness gauge 
- 4 Ton arbor press
- aviator snips 
- standard screwdriver 
- metric ruler
- marking pen 
- 1-1/2” wide painters masking tape
- 1/2” wide painters masking tape
- drill press or handheld drill 
- 1/8” diameter 4-flute end cutting end mill
- hacksaw 
- paper
- large calipers

Important facts to check about the sneakers:

5) SPD cleats will not properly engage pedal if shoe sole (in the area where the cleat will be located) is greater than 10mm thick. 
6) If shoe liners are permanently glued into place and cannot be removed, the shoes may not be suitable. 

Next steps:

7) Remove shoe laces and shoe liners
8) Layout the thru cut lines on the bottom of the shoe
9) The cut should be parallel with the shoe centerline
10) The cut should penetrate the sole only, not the side panels of the shoe
11) The cut must be placed with consideration for the four threaded fasteners that will hold the cut into place
12) The inside edge of the cut must be X Dimension = 22mm or less from the widest part of the shoe, this provides 5mm of clearance between the shoe and the pedal. 
13) The Y dimension is subject to disgression:
                    - plate placement: insure the mounting holes will penetrate the sole appropriately
                    - rider preference: cleat placement has a large influence on power transfer
and riding efficiency
                    - in general the centerline of the cleat should fall somewhere behind the ball of the foot where possible

14) Confirm cut lines will appropriately penetrate shoe interior and shoe sole
15) Some shoes have very narrow toe boxes and the die will have to be carefully plaveed to insure the hole is located appropriately
16) Use large calipers to visualize where the die will penetrate the shoe interior
17) Make adjustments to the cut location as necessary to avoid cutting thru shoe sides
18) Maintain the X=22mm maximum
19) Measure twice, cut once!
20) Prepare UHMW cutting board, insert inside shoe opposite steel rule
21) Use a removed liner to trace and cut the profile on 0.25" thick UHMW cutting board
22) The steel rule die will lightly cut the into the UHMW cutting board 
23) The UHMW cutting board protects the interior of the shoe from being cut by the die

24) Secure steel rule die to shoe
25) Align die edges with tape
26) Use 1.5" wide tape to secure the shoe
27) Use generous amount of tape to wrap around top of shoe
28) Confirm die is aligned with the centerline of the shoe
29) Measure twice, cut once!

30) Cut hole 
31) Repeat previous steps for shoe 2
32) Confirm the steel rule die is placed in the same place on the right shoe as on the left
33) It is mandatory that the cuts are accurately "mirrored" to the opposite shoe for proper cleat alignment
34) Measure twice, cut once!

35) Insert hole boring to shoe
36) Insure the UHMW cutting board is cut to fit inside shoe interior woth room to spare, otherwise it may cause the fixture to twist and be mis-aligned relative to the cut hole

37) Bore 1/8" holes thru shoe sole using the 1/8" four flute cutting endmill 
38) Counter bore the four holes
39) Repeat these steps for other shoe
40) Trim nylon plates to fit inside shoes
41) Make paper cutout of shoe interior using removed liners
42) Trace cute opening onto paper cutout
43) Align paper cutout onto nylon plates with opening aligned to the plate details
44) Transfer outline of shoe interior onto nylon plates using paper cutout template

45) Trim the nylon plate to fit inside the opposite shoe
46) Assemble nylon plates to shoes 
47) Use stainless steel binding head fasteners provided

48) Assemble 4 hole threaded plate to both shoes
49) Insert shoe liners
50) Re-lace shoes 

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