2010 Future Sole Design Competition Nike N7 College Runner-Up.

words_Ian Cobb

My experience in the Future Sole competition has been incredible. What an amazing experience.

My story started when I received an e-mail informing me about this Nike shoe design competition called Future Sole. I loved the idea of entering; however, I received the e-mail only two days before the deadline. So I juggled the idea of entering the contest with so little time, but I told myself “just go for it, its my dream,” so I went for it. A week or so later, Future Sole posted the semi-finalists and I couldn’t believe it–there I was in the top six in the College Nike N7 category.

Ian Cobb's 2010 Future Sole Final Rendering

Ian Cobb’s 2010 Future Sole Final Rendering

The next round demanded a lot of social networking between friends, family and anyone else who was eligible to vote. A week later on OSD (Obsessive Sneaker Disorder), they were to announce the finalists for the Future Sole contest. That had to have been the longest five minutes of my life, waiting for them to call my name. And when they did, I hit the floor in awe. It actually took several days and an e-mail from my design mentor, Ashley Payne, for everything to soak in. I was actually a finalist in the Nike Future Sole competition!

Flying out to Portland, Oregon and going to Nike HQ was unlike anything I had done or seen before; it’s Disneyland for shoes. Everything is broken up like a theme park. There are many different buildings showcasing different sports, superior athletes, and the many design categories.

Visiting Nike and presenting my N7 Future Sole Project brought me back to playing sports, most of all football. When I met the other finalists, I felt I already knew them. We had gone through the same process and worked extremely hard towards our dreams to get where we were. The bus rides to and from town reminded me of traveling to an away game, when you’re nervous, excited, and anxious for your moment to shine. The days before the presentation, when we toured the campus and went out to dinner, were like practice and visiting the stadium before the big game. By presentation day, we were all focused and ready; it was game day. I was trying to get mentally prepared, but at the same time we were going through such cool areas and meeting so many amazing design legends in the footwear industry.

Actually presenting my shoe design caused one of the biggest adrenaline rushes I have ever had. I was so nervous but so excited and honored to be granted the opportunity to present my work to some of the top designers in the world. Despite the fact that I did not win in the finals, I had such an amazing experience from start to finish. Meeting and connecting with so many people in my dream career field was surreal. If I had the chance, I would participate again in a heartbeat.

I consider myself extremely fortunate to have had this experience. I am so grateful to my design mentor, the design heads, and the entire Nike team for holding such an amazing competition.

Ian Cobb's 2010 Future Sole Final Board

Read more about theĀ 2010 Future Sole Design Competition.