While contracting with Nike Sportswear's color design team, I noticed the popularity of Nike Free's around campus. When coupled with casual dress or streetwear, the free brought a relaxed, performance look to any outfit. I thought it would be interesting to try to bring a bit more dress to the Free by designing an upper that was mid height and featured leather overlays. The tongue is suede for an unexpected premium hit at a key touchpoint. Small neoprene inserts on the medial side help the shoe flex for great fit.

Design April 2012.

The Free Chukka boot was designed to get after the trend of performance footwear being worn with high style outfits.

The Free Chukka boot was designed to get after the trend of performance footwear being worn with high style outfits.

I also noticed gradual movement away from 2008's Americana craft movement and towards a more performance look and feel.

I also noticed gradual movement away from 2008's Americana craft movement and towards a more performance look and feel.

I wanted to create a shoe that became the staple when out with friends, moving through the city.

I wanted to create a shoe that became the staple when out with friends, moving through the city.

I took photos of a taped-up last and sketched directly over it to translate doodles to designs with authentic proportion. These sketches led to three design options.

I took photos of a taped-up last and sketched directly over it to translate doodles to designs with authentic proportion. These sketches led to three design options.

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I worked with the team in Nike's Innovation Kitchen to create a wearable concept sample.

I worked with the team in Nike's Innovation Kitchen to create a wearable concept sample.

To push the concept even more casual, a second prototype was built in all suede. Two suede specific color palettes served as a basis for additional renderings.

To push the concept even more casual, a second prototype was built in all suede. Two suede specific color palettes served as a basis for additional renderings.

Imagined in technical ripstop materials with bonded construction, the Free Chukka Boot could take on a technical personality. I was inspired by the oversized toe Swoosh seen on performance futbol boots in one iteration to really tie a lifestyle shoe back to the performance category.

Imagined in technical ripstop materials with bonded construction, the Free Chukka Boot could take on a technical personality. I was inspired by the oversized toe Swoosh seen on performance futbol boots in one iteration to really tie a lifestyle shoe back to the performance category.

Classic boot inspiration takes the Free Chukka boot to a more rugged space with leather uppers, heavy stitching, boot laces, and metal eyelets.

Classic boot inspiration takes the Free Chukka boot to a more rugged space with leather uppers, heavy stitching, boot laces, and metal eyelets.