City Knife 3

This design was posted before but i thought I would post up some of the process:

Brief: a travel shoe for urban nomads, this is that extra pair of shoes you keep with you for walking 20 blocks, or when you need that extra pair to fit in your suitcase. The product folds in the arch and stores in a travel case. Wrestling style construction captures two pods of injected phylite, a foam and rubber compound that is both soft and durable. it is stitched to the upper with a techtough coated leather. The upper is made of calf skin and synthetic leathers with a gusseted gore on the medial side for fit. The finger grip on the tounge top is injected rubber. There is a skeleton lining inside of calf skin and split suede. The injected onto the interior heel sued foxing are four urethane nubs, these secure tho toe when the shoe is folded and also help to hold the heal in place.

The images below give you a very edited down view of the process, but it shoes the basic concept, to the initial presentation, to concept refinement, to the final product. I would do a lot of this digitally now, but this was from '03. Of course in the midle was a whole lot of crappy prototypes trying to figure out how to make the thing fold, fit, be supportive, and comfortable at the same time. Lots of cutting shoes apart and going to Korea.

Pfffffffffffffffff really sick…this is the kind of style that drew me to id (until I discovered that it was better to develop an own style :wink: )

But please do’t tell me that your initial sketches look this way. You must have some smudgy crayon doodles in the beginning…



“But please do’t tell me that your initial sketches look this way. You must have some smudgy crayon doodles in the beginning…”

first post on Core. nothing good to say that i can see. no constructive crit. what is the purpose of this post?

keep it civil. back up your words with your own amazing work. and then still keep it civil. or expect me to delete future posts.


It wasn’t meant as a negative comment I just meant that it looks so nice but that I’m also interested how the early stage would be of a project like this. You when you’re just skribbling away…that’s all.

The reason I come and look is these kinds of post where someone shares this kind of stuff. If I offendend someone than I’m sorry…

there have been some rude anonymous posts in other sections directed YO’s way past few days. a cryptic first post gets my attention. sorry if i jumped too fast. no offense intended. until forum settles into regular civility, i’ll probably be protective of this area. showing work is a sensitive issue. appreciate your understanding my position.

Nice work Yo. I like seeing your earlier sketches. Good work to with the detailing…I love how the stitching on the case match the stitching on the upper.

Actually, the first sketch in the post was the first sketch. There was a page of some misc rumblings in my sketch book of the time that I’ll try to dig up (I’ve probably gone through 8-9 sketch books since then though so I don’t know If I’ll be able to locate it), but it went from a couple little thumbnails, to that full size sketch in a few hours. From there I do a lot of full size color sketch options, to try to figure out different ways of solving the manufacturing issues. It took me years to develope my visual language skills to be able to visualize and communicate solutions that fast though. I have the benifit of having in house 3D teams who I can supervise construction of my 3D work, keeps me focused on the concept. You can see how I redline their work in the above post. That was probably the 3rd or 4th redline. It is quite a long process even when you have a talented modler on your side. Hope that answers your question.

You can see that the final evolved quite a bit in both looks and construction, but the basic solution remained.

4706 - Thankd for the compliment, I think I read it right.

BTW - good lookin out YKH, someone has my back in here.

Feel free to fire in any other questions.


Good stuff of course, keep it up. Thanx for posting too, I’m sure it’s helping out a lot of folks. Too bad we didn’t have core back when we were in school.

Thanks dude,

dug up the early sketch book stuff as per the request, just a couple of doodles really:


I’m way into the top view sketch with the green sole. Can’t beat green, white and grey for cool and clean look in a sketch, and you used it very nicley

Shoes look like a lot of fun to work on, I used to sketch them when i was a kid, then a month before I graduated I re-discovered how much fun it was (only did a few though, graduation and all, maybe I’ll post them)

We should all share more sketch work on these posts, it would be cool to make a gallery post, where someone picks a product (i.e shoes, hand-helds, furniture, or whatever) and throws some work down, and others do the same, nothing major, just a fun reason to sketch before hittin’ the sack. Maybe I’ll do it tommorrow, look out for a post called “fun gallery” or someone can beat me to it.

what do you guys think?

not to get off the subject YO, great work!

Thanks YO. dont want to sound like a broken record. but I remember when u posted these in ealier. and I asked to see skecthes. glad to finally c. but what i wasn’t so sure about before was if you designed the packaging that it folds into. I have been wondering how much of what you and or others design and think about packaging. I am in communication design at school ( cant wait to leave in a way and do my shoe thang full time and not be so spread thin) anyways and we do alot of package design. when you are designing like for example the package that this shoe goes in did you consolt or meet with graphic designers? I know that alot of type goes on products. you cant really find a products that doesn’t seem to have atleast some type of words or language on it. do you design this or is it done by someone else.

like in my own experiences logos and other embossment types are already created i just have to spec out the label numbers and the factory understands. I on occasion will design a new logo for a specific sample, because i feel like the logos and other informative labels are out of date and wouldnt look good on the praticular style. so i design a new one and then spec it and label for material it would be made of and pantone colors to match. ( this was done for shoe design-havent done any other type of production to compare it to or give example of) I was just wondering about this. also how do you approach a package like this with a budget? how much of the focus was on the bag, because yes the shoes are great and they can fold into the bag but the bag is a large focus on this project i think. its what carries the shoes and really is what serves a great purpose. I wish they would package shoes better like what you have here. not enough emphasis on the packaging aspect of footwear. many might ask well why focus on it its not as important. but its a hassle to carry around shoes. like there are shoes now specifcally for many diferent exercises and daily life and the mix of these two means many shoes for many activities. so a way to package these for easier transportation other than on ur feet but with you is great. and something that should be explored.

how did you find the last that you wanted to use. did they create a new last for this new fold up shoe? i am also looking at it and wondering about the support in the shank area. since it folds in this area i am sure it is flexible but does it offer arch support?

nice work. again. soon my shyt will be out. i am told early spring. then i can post. cant wait. I really want to post some of my shoes.

Sorry it took soooo lond DV, but told ya I’d get to it.

Yeah, I try to take on as much as i can, and in this rare case the powers that be let it slide. For me the packaging is what makes it a travel shoe, it really doesn’t even have to fold because the upper is so deconstructed. It of course comes in a traditional box so it can be digitally tacked and stacked in warehouses and store rooms, changing a box here is like converting to a new religion, a huge freaking ordeal.

The Jordan XIX’s come in a sweet box and also come with a mexh carry bag. it ca happen when people push hard enough. Puma has done some nice packaging as well.

The way we solved the arch issue is that there is a thin molded piece of heat activated heal counter material in that are, it is cupped so it easily flexes in one direction, but not as much in the other.



xix is the best shoe package i have seen. i have the blks ones trying to get the white and reds.

one other thing…tht u didnt mention tht i was just thinking about…
but wht about packaging or puting a logo or type on a product in general. do u work with a graphic designer ever??

Thanks Yo for digging up those little sketches. I always love to see the dirty work. I love the dirty work so much that I have trouble to take it to the next level en spend a lot of work on one sketch…

But it’s nice to see progressive design @nike in contrast to all the retrohype. BTW how do you decide about materials and textures for the design you’re working on because you started in the first one with a knit upper and switched to leather later.


good to see thread active. look forward to some new threads from people learning from YO.

@copyboy - how about staplers?

will do-

early spring-shoes will be out. I think posting projects adds alot to the forum. and to educate about the process. what we have seen in posts and what has been said about the process of footwear and production design is really exciting and interesting. I have been compiling some of my work. and working with another graphic designer to design a book about footwear design. If anyone else is interested in being apart of this project please let me know. there are soo many books on design and i think a shadow has been casted over footwear design books. cant find any. the books you find about footwear are collectors books. like talking about the history a lil and then the collections. I think there is a mas market out there that would be interested in this. i am also connected to a print shop so production of a book wouldnt be an issue. also I have professors with connections to Barnes N Noble and Borders and other local book shops.

just a lil something to add in.

A couple of things informed that decision.

1)Origionaly, a friend of mine told me about this machine that could weave an upper in one piece [amazinf], but it had only been done once before (on another Nike) and re-figuring it out was taking time away from figuring out how to make the thing fold properly, I wanted to make sure it functioned correctly and was comfortable, and if I persued the new material as well the project was in danger of being pushed back [which is usualy code around here for not going to happen at all, esp sice there was no marketing brief on this, I initiated the project and I was kind of ram rodding it through the system]

2)I wanted to get the product in places like Barneys NY, Fred Segal’s in LA, Collete Paris, and so a more premium material way was kind of the way to go in the end anyway.

BTW 4706 - so cool illustrations on your site.

Thanks for the compliment Yo! It’s a WIP so i’ll be adding more later.

You said that there was no marketing brief. Does that mean that you have a lot of side projects that you try to push to the foreground? Because the cityknife is a series does that mean that is was going to be discontinued?

For the MOST part, Nike keeps your work load is pretty light here so that you can figure new stuff out. If you are, as they say, a “Go Getter”, there is a lot of opportunity. The City Knife 2, as much press as it got, didn’t sell so well. I’m not sure if the series would have been disconinued (we get on, then off, then back on things so many times it’s hard to tell), but there was an opportunity to spark in a product that worked better and was more sellable, so I took it! It worked out OK I think.