Basketball / 01.06.11

2010 Future Sole Jordan Runner-Up Matt Walters

2010 Future Sole Design Competition Jordan Team College Runner-Up.

words_Matt Walters

The entire Nike Future Sole experience will be one that I’ll remember and cherish for as long as I live.

Everything before, during and after my visit to Nike Headquarters was a dream come true. A person usually experiences a pretty big moment in their life every once and a while. It was unreal because for the entire 2010 summer, these ‘big moments’ seemed to never cease. Hearing my named called on Obsessive Sneaker Disorder as one of the two finalists in the Jordan College division is a three-second moment that I play back in my head on a daily basis.

The feeling of knowing that your month of work on this one shoe had all paid off was incredible; so incredible, that it took me a couple days to actually realize that I had won and that I would be traveling to Oregon to continue to design and meet the people that I ultimately look up to and want to work side-by-side with one day. After getting Jonathan Johnson-Griffin as my Nike mentor and the new brief, it was back to the drawing board. It was wild because the entire time I was designing this shoe, I had this different motivation and drive to design something unbelievable. I knew that I had been given this one-in-a-million opportunity and that I couldn’t take any of it for granted. While working on a shoe, I usually have my other designer friends and professors take a look at it to give me some comments and critique. Having Jonathan look and critique my sketches every couple days was not only an honor, but also helped me take a step back and look at my design in different ways.

Being flown out to Oregon, having someone pick you up at the airport, and having them let you out in front of an amazing hotel in the heart of Portland was as if we were being treated like celebrities…the entire trip was almost too much to handle – in a good way. One of the best things that we did there wasn’t actually an event. While being flown out to Oregon, creating a ton of new friends, and presenting my shoe are things I will never forget, my favorite part was when we took the multiple tours throughout the campus. Seeing Jason Petrie, Mark Miner and many others working in their own studio space on their current projects right in front of us was inspiring to say the least. While walking through the studios, you had no idea what to even look at because there were too many things for one sneakerhead’s mind to handle. Shoes everywhere. Sketches everywhere. Models and materials everywhere. I was a kid that never wanted to leave the candy store .

Once all the fun and games were over with, it was time to do what I had been sent to Oregon to do: present my shoe design. To be honest, I was a bit nervous about presenting my idea in front of so many designers and important players at Nike and Jordan. It wasn’t until the night before our presentation that I realized I shouldn’t be nervous at all; rather, I should be unbelievably confident and excited to be presenting my hard work in front of the people I admire.

Going up and talking about my shoe was a huge rush. In the past, I’d usually given shoe presentations in front of designers that really didn’t know too much about footwear, so to be able to talk about my number one passion with 40 other people that have the same passion was truly amazing. My presentation went very smoothly, and I was excited to hear the results. Unfortunately, I ended up getting second place, and was a bit angry. But after a couple minutes, I realized that I actually don’t think I was ready to win. Chris Dixon, the winner, had an amazing design, and has years and years of shoe sketching under his belt. I have only been seriously designing shoes for 2 years now, and just to be able to be given this kind of opportunity, in my mind, I had won already.

Overall, it was the experience of a lifetime. I am unbelievably grateful that I was given this opportunity and would like to thank everyone that made this possible. As for the future, I am currently a Junior at the University of Illinois, where I will continue to enter footwear competitions and beef up my portfolio to hopefully land some kind of internship in the next couple years.

Matt Walter's finals board

Read more about the 2010 Future Sole Design Competition.

Author: Jordan Hagedorn


  1. Dave says:

    Matt – great design! You should have won hands down. The shoe you designed was functional, well rendered, and great looking. You have a great future in shoe design!

  2. Bart L. says:

    As the world’s most interesting man would say,”Stay thirsty my friend.” Congrats and I know we’re gonna show the footwear industry that UIUCID handles their business!

  3. Congrats and remember Matt…You always have the support of OSD!

  4. CDixon says:

    Matt You are a winner man! THe experience made us WInners!!! WE CANT STOP which we know can’t happen!

  5. jordan junky says:

    these r simple but nice not great but good nothing 2 b ashamed of

  6. karlyle says:


  7. G-ma says:

    Congratulations Matt. So proud of you.

  8. JjG. says:

    Great job bro. Hit me up so we can continue to connect.