Air Jordan XX9 Concept

Hi all, I was directed here by someone on Reddit.

Some backstory on this piece, and some info on me… You don’t have to read this part.

A while back, I met a Nike designer named Wilson Smith III (post on my blog here), and I expressed interest in becoming a sneaker designer. He flipped through my portfolio and noted that while I was good at rendering, I was lacking in the design aspect. Until then, I had mostly drawn existing sneakers and come up with new color schemes for them. I had doodled a lot of sneaker designs here and there, but they didn’t become more than doodles. He advised me to focus on designing sneakers with performance in mind, and also told me that it would be extremely difficult to become a shoe designer without a degree in art and/or design (I’m a math major). I’ve also had no formal art education before.

The next few months, I didn’t really think about it because it was too late for me to go and get even a minor in art, so I felt I was unable to become a designer. But I can still design for fun, right?

A few hours ago, I had a sudden burst of inspiration, and I hit the tablet hard. Took me a few hours to crank it out, and I know it can be cleaner, but I’d like to see what you guys think. I took all of Wilson’s advice to heart, and tried to make the best looking shoe possible with nothing but performance in mind. Of course, these are MY basketball needs, so these probably aren’t for everyone.

Blurb from my deviantArt:

Just messing around… thought up of what the XX9 might look like. I tried to improve upon the XX8’s design, while introducing new elements. I designed these with MY basketball needs in mind, so they’re probably not for everyone. Drawn top to bottom by me.

Lots of inspiration from the Great White Shark. Note the gills in the Carbon Fiber plate, and the teeth-looking midsole. I also tried to incorporate lots of “fin” shapes. Hopefully this piece doesn’t require a ton of explanation.

First two colorways I thought of were the classic Black/White-Red, and a Knicks/OKC colorway.

Tech and description:

Inspired by the Great White Shark. Gills in shank plate, created fin shapes until a shoe appeared, teeth inspired midsole. Teeth shapes allow forefoot section of midsole to flex easily.
Enormous Carbon Fiber plate that runs along the bottom of the shoe, and curves up to protect and stabilize midfoot.
Cushioning provided by full length zoom.
Laceless. Foot is secured by carbon fiber and breathable mesh shroud that covers the foot. Entire shoe is lined with pro-combat, which exits the upper to form an ankle sleeve.
Toe is composed of tough, synthetic materials to protect from people landing on foot.
Hologram on the ankle is a nod to the Air Jordan 13 - the first Air Jordan inspired by an animal.

I also decided to go ahead and make an advertisement for the shoe. Took the shark theme and ran with it.

Thanks for looking. I’d appreciate all criticism and feedback!

Kai, are you planning on going to industrial design school? If you want to make a go at this professionally, you will get a lot better a lot faster going to school for ID.

Good effort. My first point of feedback is that your proportions are off. One of the most important aspects of communicating a footwear concepts so it can be understood and believed are the proportions which account for not only the shape and movement of the foot, but also the layers of material, foam and rubber needed for a particular performance activity. I adjusted your sketch below to show you waht a more realistic proportion would be.
md edite.jpg

That little adjustment that you did there Yo is stunningly effective. Thank you for sharing that.

I am not a footwear guy at all nor do I aspire to be but I feel that this exercise in proportion was really helpful in many other areas of ID as well.

Really cool.

Wow, thank you so much for the fix and reply! It looks a million times better.

How do I know what to make the proportions like? My drawing process was just creating a new layer over a picture of a foot, and drawing over it. Does it just come with experience, or is there some kind of rule for it?

Unfortunately, I’m not planning to go to ID school. I’m an actuary math major, and I do this in my free time.

Thanks again!