Meet the shoe that can make any runner 4% more efficient!
Footwear tuned for athletes.
They say all publicity is good publicity, so maybe this redskins controversy is actually a blessing in disguise and can bring attention to more serious First Nations issues.
Athlete the 2002 book and photo essay of olympic athletes and their varied body types by Howard Schatz and Beverly Ornstein is a refreshing challenge to the muscular athletic body stereotype.
A celebration of diversity it shows that we are all potential athletes regardless of our body type, tall, short, heavy or light.
Below is the first Nike Just Do It commercial that came out a quarter century ago in 1988.
Its very interesting, in that its very different from your typical adrenalin injected athletic product commercial.
Click HERE to read another post about how Just Do It was conceived.
In explaining the Closed Loop Product Cycle and the Cradle to Cradle industrial model, the very interesting book Cradle to Cradle by William McDonough and Michael Braungart, states how human waste does not exist. Instead everything humans dispose of, can be classified as either an Organic Nutrient or a Technical Nutrient.
“waste does not exist, only wasted resources.” – Nancy Judd
The book explains how all products need to be designed for easy disassembly in order to put Organic Nutrients into the soil as fertilizers and keep Technical Nutrients in a closed recycling system so as not to contaminate the environment.
Footwear, the book claims is an environmentally “monstrous hybrid” which cannot be broken down into separate nutrients.
To be sustainable new footwear designs should either be completely Organic Nutrients, or designed for easy disassembly so that the different Technical Nutrients can be recycled accordingly, ideally using infinitely recyclable thermoplastics (otherwise it would be considered Downcycling).
Imagine worn and broken components that go back into the industrial cycle as nutrients, becoming food for the industrial organism and returning to us in new forms on new products.
PUMA recently came out with a TPU BioWeb frame structure which I think would lend itself very well to a truly sustainable performance footwear design.
Below is my initial interchangeable PUMA BioWeb TN football concept evolving the BioWeb design language while following a “Cradle to Cradle” philosophy.
To amortize higher mold costs, the BioWeb frame can be adapted to more sole designs and used on different shoes. But its also worth investigating new technologies to make cheaper molds, or reduce costs by cutting out the middle man and have the brand buy its own injection molding machines and make its own molds in house.
In this case a mechanical assembly system locks the sole into the BioWeb frame without the use of glue. This economizes one step in construction and simplifies disassembly for recycling.
And what if the TN could be sold as a firm ground football shoe and consumers could buy an indoor sole separately for say USD50? A smaller size packaging would lower shipping costs and CO2 emissions, while also offering a better profit margin with very low labour costs..Alternative soles could even be injection molded locally with the right government tax incentives.
Because design is a holistic discipline and product performance can also be measured in environmental and economical terms.
Also if the TPE upper can be made sufficiently elastic, 1 mold could probably be used to make both left and right uppers. The elastic upper molded part would just need to turned inside out to make the upper for the other foot. Similar to the Nike Air Rejuven8 concept.
Or a knit version, with external cage that can also be turned inside out for use on the opposite foot.
Biomorphic inspiration from cells and cellular design, with a nod to Mar Newson’s Nike Zvezdochka.
Similar modular design opportunities with Adidas Sprint Web and Nike Hyperfuse structural aesthetic.
How is a sport invented?
As part of both the skateboarding wave of the 1980’s (I was also that barefoot skater) and the kiteboarding wave of the 2000’s, I’ve been privileged to experience firsthand the development of new sports that have brought about new cultural perspectives and re-energized entire industries. Creating new products and demand.
Experiences that opened my mind to radical new concepts and a vision that anything positive is possible with enough passion.
Its thrilling to think what the cycling world has become since the introduction of Mountain Bikes by a small group a back country cyclists.
The Sneaker world with Skateboarding.
The Sailing world with Kitesurfing.
But how did these sports even begin?
Below are a few videos about the origins of some of the biggest and newest sports and some of the exceptional and lucky individuals that made it all happen.
Interviews capturing some of the pioneers of each sport, their inspiring character and passion to pursue their odd visions and create a great new sport, cobbling it out of virtually nothing but a few spare parts.
These short movies contain so much positive energy and fun that they make you want to go out and rip, bike, skate, or surf.
But they also make you wonder if you could invent a sport specifically tailored to your passions what would it be?
That’s one privilege that designers have, that is be part of emerging sport/design movements, tasked to invent new products with new functions and for new uses.
New sports that generate new demand for new products and new design thinking.
The 1992 Nike Air Huarache line (Flight and LE), with its floating exoskeletal upper was arguably the first deconstructive footwear design.
Click on the link to read the the full story on SOLE COLLECTOR.
Traditionally footwear parts have been cut from sheet material, foam, mesh or leather. The die-cutting process inherently creates off-cut waste. Think of the waste created making lasting boards, and uppers from over 30 different die cut parts. For every shoe made about 1/3 of its weight is created in factory waste.
Photo from www.teamsweat.org
The use of molded parts has reduced some of that waste especially using injected footwear soles. But molded parts are not very soft nor breathable and haven’t successfully replaced the traditional athletic upper.
The new Nike Flyknit upper has the potential to make a massive step towards manufacturing waste reduction in footwear. One of the biggest innovations in footwear the Nike Flyknit upper is completely knitted from scratch to the specifications of the designer, tongue included. Nike calls this process “micro-level precision engineering”.
Essentially growing a part from nothing, this is also known as Additive Fabrication.
Enabling a machine to fully knit an upper means no cut-off waste and less labour. Creating the opportunity to produce sophisticated footwear regionally in the USA, Europe, or Japan and eliminate long distance shipping costs and the pollution it creates. Maybe even help reduce regional pollution using fibers made from say recycled PET bottles.
Essentially with one machine constructing the upper and another constructing the sole all that is left to do is join the 2 parts together.
Flyknit was developed in 4 years, but how, who were the engineers with the knitting and machine knowledge and are there limits to complexity of the Flykit upper? Would those answers make an excellent book?
Whether knitting the upper, or 3D printing the sole, in-store or factory, with Additive Fabrication, the future of regionalized footwear manufacture is that much closer to becoming reality.
Cutting costs, reducing pollution and creating forms so complex and intricate they would be impossible to manufacture any other way. 3D printed Soles with complex ventilation channels, integrated air pockets, or internal cantilever structures for biomechanic cushioning are probably on their way.
“OK, SO YOU CAN CREATE ANYTHING, NOW WHAT?” – Scott Summit