Nike Select Slide:

Just came out a few weeks ago. Basicly the cussioning system works the way a sla platform bed works. Cuts in the material (a glass filled nylon plate) allow each individual slat to flex with your fooy, creating a bit of a trampoline effect.

available here:

Why did the split toe get scrapped? That was sweet, the color too. The navy on the site is heavy, that concept blue+white combo and tabi style sole really adds into the light and airy feel. Nice idea, good stuff.

I liked the split toe too, it works great in a shoe where you are locked into position, but in a slide your big toe tends to float around a bit, and that edge hurt like hell, so I had to design it out once the testing came back.

I with you on the colors, I did what I could is all can say.

why didnt a toe ring work around the big toe, as seen in some men’s casual dress? that would keep the big toe in place-probably wouldnt flow as nicely as a pattern tho—

was this before working with jordan brand? when you are working with jordan brand are you still given side projects from other departments inside nike, like for example to do a sandal for -----dept. of nike.??

I like the blue also and maybe a red-white and blk, or a grey with lime green accents and a white midsole-and also maybe on the bottom of the platform bed on the plates (strips) instead of a flat color like blue or orange-but to maybe have a grediant. like dark grey to light as you move up the foot/ or maybe have a printed image on the strips-

nice work-dont wear sandals myself-but would pick em up if i did.

nice work Mike…

++ your layouts are looking better too. dont think i am not noticing that, i like the grediant at the bottom with the type-just one thing–your name “michael” is a lil hard to read the black is not poping out is kind of bleeding into background. mabybe would fit better justified to the upper left and scaled down a lil…?

The toe ring might have worked, but that would have moved it away from being a sports slide. The origional insight was for a recovery product after sport. In othet words, you’ve been balling for hours and you get out of your hot sport shoes and quickly rock these.

Thanks on the layout, I forgot to delete my personal info, corrected it now.

Actually I did this design almost two years ago, it took a long time to bring to production, and the concept had been developed about a year before that. I’ve been in Jordan since December, so nothing I’ve done there will be out until a little less than a year from now.


I dunno, after ball i always but on running shoes, or jordans. (I never played in J’s never wanted to get them scuffed up). Do alot of people wear sandals after they excercise?

Two years ago-wow, I haven’t worked on a proj. that long, I don’t know how you can handle that. I want to get things out asap, I am the type that if I keep seeing it around I will want to keep adjusting it.

any sketches of this idea? hahah you knew I had to ask- ok if not


Nice. Are those slots going all the way through? Can you tell me some of the process you went through designing this? From how you landed this project to getting the design approved? I’ve done Nike sponsored proj for school not too long ago; the process we went through was very interesting. Quite different than other studio classes I’ve taken. The demography and branding were critical for most part.

The process on this one was a bit unique. The idea was generated in advanced design. A freind of mine designed a product using the technology and it became very heavy looking and the project was canceled. My marketing person saw it and asked me to take a crack at it. I did a few thumbnails, but mostly put a lot of thought into how it would be constucted (trying to avoid the overbuilt problem of thee predecesor) and also thought a lot about who would use it for what.

We sell a lot of what we call sport slides for aftwer sport. This having the slats (they do go all the way through) and comfortable, breathable footbed, was perfect for that use. I tried to keep the entire design as clean as posible to show off the slat system. You will see almost every detail is a circle or a pill shape (fully radiused rectangle) to compliment the form of the slats. I think this visually supports the design.

After some thumbnails and a tight photoshop/illustrator rendering it was rounds and rounds of prototypes (built in Asia) and correction/adjustments by me (in the US)

You are right xO, the Nike pocess is pretty unique, we have a rather complex design ethos that centers primarilly on consumer based innovation that we try our best to stick to.

The below should give you a good sampling of about 1/8th of the documentation and revisions this thing went through::

ohhh that is sweet! i wish the split toe would have worked out. do you think you could briefly explain what is going on in that engineering drawing? i have never seen a footwear design displayed that way, is this the norm for every project?

Thanks. The split toe was a unique idea, and with all of the testing facilities here i was able to quickly see that it was an idea that didn’t work, but you have to break a few eggs to get an innovativ omlette.

What you are seeing in those drawings, is about 1/100th of the back and forth btween the US based design, research, and development team (which was me, a developer, an engineer and an advanced designer) as we figured out how to make this system work (we also figured out a hell of a lot of ways to make it not work and to make it cost a whole lot). We spent a lot of time investigating materials (we ended up with a glass filled nylon slat layer of varying thicknesses, covered with a stock with a stock fit soft durometer rubber footbed for comfor which also restricts the slats from over spreading under the heel (see ribs) and under the metatarsle heads (balls of your feet), all resting on a dounut of Phylon (which is a mixture of EVA foam and rubber injected). The upper is stockfit between the layers of tooling. The trick was to make it firm enough to not colapse under 200+lbs but not feel like a stiff boar for someone belo 120lbs… took a bit to figure it out. The dark blak mito buck is a water resistant, breathable, non woven material that stretches, the gloss black urethane strip over the toe prevents it from stretching to the point you slip out. There is very little styling in this thing, everything is there for a function.

In the end, this is what you can buy now at Nike town:

Very cool–

one question-- how well do they hold to your feet? I have to use those “gators” because they have the backing and optional “flip-flop.” Do you think those are two different markets- or are these as stable as having a back?

Different market to some degree.

This holds your foot snugly, stretch upper, rubber footbed, but it is designed more as an “after sport” product, to let your foot breathe and be super comfy.

The gator is maor of an all day thing right? Though most people will wear this all day, it’s just a little more of a lounging kind of thing.

Inspiring object. Inspired idea. I love it!
I notice you had a few options among the autocad diagrams that show a few different structural options in the forefoot of the phylon “doughnut”. The top pic (gray/charcoal/brick) shows the doughnut completely opened up with no bracing, but the bottom pic (charcoal/black) shows one of the other options with the additional bridge built in. Please tell us that the final version is the top! It would kill me to have to pass on the opened up version…its just so much more clean and (seemingly) uncomplicated.


Unfortunately the final is as shown in the black/gloss black/ light grey pic. The concept functioned well open, but the large brace prevents objects from becoming lodged in the openning, like say perhaps a gas pedal of a car maybe. It was a last second adjustment that set the project back in terms of design and time but it had to be done. I totally agree, it looses a bit of the pure form though.

It still feels yealy cool when you walk on grass though and the blades poke through between the slats.

Hey Mike,

I actually got a glimpse of these in a Foot Locker here in Miami, Florida. Truthfully I was going to get them, but realized I would’ve overdrafted on my checking account if I did (they’re not expensive I was just flat out broke). As much as everyone talks about the split toe and all I guess you really have to appreciate the product for its slight innovation that now re-establishes the uniqueness of the common sandal. I think solid product design is identified by how much of an impact the designer can make through an idea under many constraints and limitations. I’m not sure of your limitations eventually from crazy ideation phase all the way to refinement, but the product caught my eye in a heartbeat at the store and now that I know you did this seems even more amazing. As an emerging design proffesional this is an example of inspiration for me to want to be a product designer. Good stuff.


Too bad! Good reasoning for adding the additional bridge, but thats the kind of thing that would keep me up at night. Having brought such a pure form to it & then having to compromise for function is sometimes agonizing, but it had to be done.
I appreciate the use of the stretch mtrl in the upper combined with the molded band to impose a limit to the stretch. What a simple, elegant solution.
This kind of thinking is why Nike stays on top. Unfortunately, I have not had the luxury of putting that kind of time & thought into one product. I have actually been under the gun on nearly everything I have done in footwear. Yesterday I was told to design an upper in 2 hours flat. This week so far I have worked on 6 or 7 different shoes with the intention of having at least 4 of these ‘finished’. I have a few special projects in the works that don’t have such a ridiculous deadline, but my workload is so full that I can’t spend a fair amount of time on them.
Enough whining. What is your typical timetable & workload like at Nike? How many projects to you handle simultaneously?
Every footwear designer has wondered what it would be like to work for Nike. I have fears that my reckless pace have hampered my ability to forecast more than a few months, or to stay focussed in the long term. But hey, I am fast.

How can a designer state that it hurts to loose aesthetic for the sake of functionality. If the product does not function superbly then what is the point of the cool new design aesthetic. As designers I think we get too caught up on how cool this needs to look when if we sit and analyze what the function needs to do and improve on that and what functions will make this product pleasurable to the consumer, eventually that idea of the new aesthetic will just work itself in. Remember consumers are becoming smarter with their products. Functionality is now becoming a given in design. If we don’t satisfy the given then the product is yet another product that lives on the shelf catching dust. Sorry for the preaching…

Thank you.

Mich, where you at man? Did anyplace snag you up yet?

Robin. I know exactly what you are talking about. Working in design firms for 5 years before Nike had me working at a break neck speed. Coming onboard here was a culture shock at first. I was asigned 3 shoes a season (3 seasons a year, so 9 shoes in total) but it seemed like I was loafing, so I invented all kinds of projects for myself, bringing it up to about 7 shoes a season (21 shoes a year) for my first 2 years. This season I only have two projects (though one is quite a big project) and one project I made up for myself. Now I’ve kind of figured out that I can take a lot of that time and realy design out my projects inside out. It also gives me time to collaborate and sketch on projects for other groups when I can (right now I am working on some bags and aparel detailing), and of course some time to freelance and do my own side projects. You’d work it out.

Hey Mike,

The end of the year went well and I’m finally setting up camp at Design Continuum in New England. I’m excited about the place since I had a feel for the environment already. I spoke to Lisa about an interview out there at Nike, but things were winding down on my side of things after graduation and I wanted to know where I was going to be after school. Hey man great work and hopefully we can chat some more in the near future. Are you going to the National Conference? I’m one of the Merit Award winners so I’ll be out there for sure. Take care man.


Michel, I agree with you. Function is always the top priority. However, sometimes during the evolution of a design I find that I am really becoming attached to an aesthetic only to find that it must be altered, diminished, or even sacrificed in some way to adhere to the functionality. In the end, the form & function must be as one. I still love the final design of the slide. But seeing the cleaner (but less functional) version at top gave me a familiar pang of regret. I suspected that having to alter the design at such a point would have been difficult to come to terms with.
I remember several years ago that there was some inherent flaw in the aerodynamics of the Audi TT that led to the addition of a pop-up spoiler. It was a major problem that had to be corrected. The solution was quite satisfactory as it only deployed at high speeds. In some ways this is an improvement because it animates the car & gives it expression at speed.
Luckily, Yo is the type of designer who can identify this kind of obstacle beforehand and roll with it very gracefully. That is why his design succeeds, and why Nike succeeds.