2010 Future Sole Design Competition Jordan Team College Runner-Up.
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.
2010 Future Sole Design Competition Jordan Team College Grand Prize Winner.
My journey to the Future Sole finals began in the 7th grade at Anne Chesnutt Middle School, Fayetteville, NC, in Mrs. Washburn’s music class. I was a fan of both sneakers and basketball and my mom had bought me only two pairs of sneakers for the year. Like your average 13-year-old basketball player, I wanted more. In music class, I began sketching my friends’ shoes, since they switched up often, but I would put my twist on the sneaker sketch. I continued to sketch and draw kicks, but basketball was my first love. However, the love affair that lasted through high school and D2 ball soon grew old and I found a new love: art and design. I changed my major from business and took on a focus in graphic design. After sacrificing much time, hard work and prayers, I received a message on sneakernews.com saying the Future Sole design competition increased the age limit to 25. In my heart I knew I had to do something. This was my chance to show people my passion! With much oblige to all the people who voted for my Air Jordan 2k11 concept…I am able to humbly tell you all about my Future Sole experience.
Finding out I was finalist in the Future Sole competition was the most exciting news of my life. I dropped to my knees with tears of joy and my hands raised high! I was going to the headquarters to present in front of some of my design heroes!
After a long flight, I made it to Portland, where I started to meet the finalists one by one. We hung out for a while, then went to dinner with D’Wayne Edwards. There we met with designer Wilson Smith III and Sean Williams of Obsessive Sneaker Disorder. They spoke to us about the experience and importance of Future Sole and what we should take from it. After the great meal and good laughs we took it back to our hotel room to chill.
Arriving at the Nike World Headquarters campus the next day was like seeing my dreams becoming a reality very fast! D’Wayne and Wilson met us in the front to start the tour. Since it was Sunday, some of the buildings were closed, but that was fine because just the sight of the architecture was amazing.
We reached the Jordan Building. I was hoping the pearly gates would open and they did! We walked in and bam! I saw all 25 Air Jordans in glass cases. “WOW” is what I said in my head while Sean held me up. I was in there! We then took the elevator up. We made a quick tour through the office where I saw some top secret projects. I didn’t want to leave. In the Michael Jordan Building, we had a short celebration for the viewer’s choice.
The next day, we went back to campus for a detailed tour. I slid off with my mentor Ben, who took me to the different areas in the Mia Hamm building where I met a bunch of cool designers. The highlight of my tour was when Ben took me to meet Eric Avar. I had never been starstruck until that day! This is the guy who makes me scrap up bucks for the freshest Nikes! He blessed me with some encouraging words, tips and most of all, his time. I took a peek at what he was sketching and it looked to be the Kobe’s of the future. Just talking to Avar made me feel like I just won the competition! I met up the rest of the crew and we made our way to the Tiger Woods building, which is where the presentations were taking place. No time to get nervous; it was show time! I glanced at my design board and I was blown away! My shoe was touchable!
Everyone gathered and, after we all drooled over our models, we took our seats. The host, Julian Duncan, was very enthused about the event! I presented with confidence and I was excited to let the audience know about my shoe. I was so jittery when I sat down, but after I presented, I felt good. When Julian announced that I was the grand prize winner of the Jordan college category, I turned to Ben and smiled BIG. I almost fainted when I gave my acceptance speech. Then came the cameras, and business cards came from everywhere. I loved it. I had never been #1 in a national competition. I guess it was my time.
My Future Sole experience was the best experience of my life…..TO BE CONTINUED!!!!!!!
For the third year in a row, the Nike Future Sole Design Competition has grown exponentially, as each year the depth of talent and the sheer amount of participants continually rises. In just a year, the total number of participants nearly doubled, going from 12,500 last year to 22,000 entries this year. Last night marked the 2010 Future Sole Finals for both the collegiate and high school categories, and both Eastbay and Sole Collector were on hand to guest judge each final presentation up close and in person.
With the eight immensely skilled finalists presenting their concept, inspiration and backstory in a 10-minute window inside the Stanford Auditorium at the Nike World Headquarters, only four could be crowned winners, and we’re happy to officially announce this year’s 2010 Future Sole Grand Prize Winners and share their winning designs.
Stay tuned for a full recap of each finalist’s detailed final presentation, first-person experiences from the winners, as well as exclusive shots of both their storyboards and Z-Corp 3D samples.
Nike N7 College Grand Prize Winner – Neil Zemba [with mentor Wilson Smith III]
Jordan College Grand Prize Winner – Christopher Dixon
Jordan High School Grand Prize Winner – Allen Largin
Nike SB High School Grand Prize Winner – Josh Mann
The Consumer’s Choice votes are in, and Future Sole has announced the four finalists for its two college design categories!
Amongst a crop of detailed and polished final renderings submitted to both the College Jordan and College Nike categories, it was Neil Zemba, Ian Cobb, Matthew Walters and Christopher Dixon that came out on top in the first year that Future Sole opened up the competition to aspiring designers outside of just high school students.
The College Jordan side saw a battle of computerized renderings from Matthew Walter and Christopher Dixon take on the signature Air Jordan model in classic Bulls colors. Which do you prefer? For the College Nike portion of the contest, both Neil Zemba and Ian Cobb answered the Nike N7 brief with fairly contrasting entries. Cobb opted for a more organic design inspired by a “footprint” theme that included eco-friendly materials, and hints of minimalism and practicality, while Zemba’s Nike Exo rendering was far more stylized, technical and performance driven, with a customizable fit in mind.
Outstanding efforts from all, and it’ll be interesting to see how their rivaling design styles face off during the Future Sole College Nike and College Jordan Finals later this Fall!