Friday, February 6, 2015

Five for Friday: Building a Running Shoe

My last day at adidas was spent working on a running shoe. The developers I was working with said "It's your last day, why does this matter?" I said "Because it's important to runners". That shoe the Supernova Adapt went on to win Editor's Choice from Runner's World and the boys at adidas bought be a beer in Boston where they got their trophy.

And here we go again. Not the exact same scenario but close. One of the last things I did at Zoot was make sure these shoes got to Runner's World in time.

The Five Key things it took to build this shoe


  1. My partner developer and I spent 2 hours at a running store watching people buy and trying on as many shoes as we could. We then wrote the product brief while sitting on the floor of the store. This was February/March of 2013. 
  2. We challenged our thinking tremendously. We had a system called BareFit and I said "Let's do BareFit with a tongue". The developer first said "Can't be done". I challenged him to do it. Only because he is so talented I knew he could get it done. 
  3. The midsole is a known process in the shoe world but it was a first time for Zoot. I'm known for my penchant to not accept ok. We trashed the first two molds or about $18,0000. 
  4. The developers in China made a sample by mistake that opened the fit "Which is what we wanted". Sitting in the factory days before production I asked them to make that mistake a process. They said "That's crazy, we can't do that". Again I knew they were so talented that it could be done. They did it. 
  5. We traveled to Asia 6 times for this shoe and probably each spent 2 months of our time in total sitting in a factory. 
It's a good life....
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