A week ago I posted an article about Nike’s latest innovation. If you missed it don’t worry, but if you didn’t you may remember me writing about the Nike Flyknit trainers. Well recently Control the Riot has been asked to attend a promotional workshop based around the concept and design of these trainers and how they came into being.
The workshop was hosted by Run Dem Crew, a running group based in central London. One of the runners described Run Dem Crew to me as a group of gifted individuals from different career backgrounds (from models to designers) helping each other towards a single goal of getting fitter and challenging themselves and each other.
Charlie Dark (the creator of Run Dem Crew) started off the proceedings giving us a brief introduction into how the evening would progress and then passed the spotlight on to Neville Wakefield, a writer and curator of contemporary art. Neville (in this instance) was present to talk about his role as the curator of the Flyknit Collective workshops hosted around the world and he elaborated on some of the attributes of this superlight shoe.
Taking the cue from Neville, Ben Shaffer (Innovation Director for Nike) took the stage and proceeded to talk about the ideas and research behind the design. He explained some of the reasons for the makeup of the shoe, such as how the angles of the stitching were adjusted to allow for maximum movement of different parts of the wearers foot. Ben also brought up the point of how ecologically friendly the Flynet trainer is, the material is completely sustainable aided by the fact that each trainer is made up of the bare minimum of what is needed for not just a running shoe but a shoe in general.
Once Ben was finished with the technical design aspects Ernesto Neto (a contemporary artist) stood up to explain his artwork to us (an example of which was hung just outside the room) and how he had used the idea of a netted structure that was similar to that used in the creation of the Flynet shoes. Ernesto gave us a glimpse into how he sees the modern world as a structured being and how he wanted observers of his art to interact with the piece and have it change their world’s structure. The example hanging just outside was an example of his endeavours to bring some excitement to walking, and have a sculpture adapt around the person walking/ climbing on it instead of the person having to adapt to the changing structure.
(From left to right: Neville Wakefield, Ernesto Neto, Charlie Dark and Ben Shaffer).
At this point we were all provided with fuel bands and the existing fuel count was checked. Whoever managed to use up the most Nike+ fuel on the run could win his or her own pair of Flynets, so of course we all got competing straight away! Charlie Dark then led us out to the hanging structure to take a look at it and warm up for a run around London. En route we stopped a few times briefly but thanks to the Nike Fuel bands we were encouraged to continue to move, swinging our arms or jogging on the spot. Our run took us along the South Bank across both London and Tower Bridges dividing our concentration between the pains in our body and the beautiful clash of architectures that is London. With perfect timing we ran across Tower Bridge to see the sun begin to set into the water of the Thames.
Back at the studio and mentally exhausted from our recent exercise we were introduced to crocheting by Ernesto and his aid and set about (with difficulty) creating bags in a similar style to Ernesto’s sculpture. For those readers who like hand based hobbies (like origami and knitting) crocheting will appeal to you. The experience was quite relaxing after the run and the structures you can create with the method range from bags to giant netting sculptures.
All in all it was a pretty new experience, both running around that area of London and creating the crochet piece, but what encouraged me to do more and (in essence) exercise more was the feedback from the fuel band, not only did Felix and I enter into the larger competition but we also formed a smaller competition between each other, and the thought of beating him kept me running when the stitch in my side became unbearable.
Get down to 1948 London to check out the new range, and keep an eye out on CTR for an upcoming feature on the fuel bands! What shoes do you currently run in? What do you wish they did differently? Let us know in the comments!