Nike asks public to design shoe for all, chooses winner - KPTV - FOX 12

Nike asks public to design shoe for all, chooses winner

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For the first time in its history, Nike asked the world to design its latest shoe, and submissions came flooding in.

The competition, called the Nike Ease Challenge, had one goal: create a shoe that could be put on with ease, no matter a person’s disability.

Nike got the idea for the shoe design competition from Matthew Walzer, a Florida man with cerebral palsy.

Back in 2012, when Walzer was a teen, he wrote a letter to Nike asking for a pair of shoes he could put on by himself. After reading the letter, Nike decided to take on the challenge and pose it to the public.

The competition was no easy feat – design submissions needed to address how the shoe could be put on easily by someone who doesn’t have the ability to use their hands.

Nike wanted an innovative solution, and Brett Drake of Cheyenne, Wyoming, delivered.

Drake’s winning design features a magnetic back panel so a person’s foot can slide in.

“I think the beauty of this is that your foot's going to be able to pop that open. It will slide in. So, just like a plane landing on a nice, clear runway,” said Tobie Hatfield, Nike’s senior director of athletic innovation, about Drake’s design. “And then - once it's in - this will pop back up.”

And the kicker about Drake? He’s not a professional shoe designer. Drake, 28, is actually a civil engineer. But he does describe himself as a “shoe nerd” and hue fan of Nike.

“I found out I was more comfortable with footwear than I ever expected, doing this,” Drake said on the Nike Ease Challenge.

A panel of judges, which included Walzer, unanimously selected Drake as the winner recently at Nike’s world headquarters.

“He's not just an engineer. He's truly an innovator and a designer,” said Hatfield of Drake.

Currently Drake’s design is only a prototype, but Nike will sell it once it’s ready to go on the market.

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