Nike: On Air

Finalist for the Nike: On Air Product Design Competition

The Challenge

After being selected from the initial written application process, hundreds of applicants across the globe were invited to participate in 3 hour design sessions hosted by Nike in their select city. During the three hour session, we were challenged with telling our story about how we connect with the city through an Air Max sneaker design.

For my design, I was inspired by the unique bodega culture that NYC has and specifically, the bacon, egg and cheese sandwich. Growing up in NYC, I would always visit the local bodega regardless of what neighborhood or borough I currently was in at the time. The bodega always symbolized independence as a kid, where $5 could go a long way and there was always a bodega around the corner. I saw how every true New Yorker, regardless of age, race, or wealth, would visit their neighborhood bodega. Whether it was for a coffee in the early mornings, a mid afternoon drink in the Summer heat, or a late night sandwich after a long night, the bodega serves as a consistent institution for every New Yorker.

Initial Designs

My most memorable part of the bodega culture in NYC is the bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich that I always used to eat as a kid. I wanted my shoe to reflect the experience of unwrapping the parchment paper/tinfoil around the sandwich to unveil the perfect cross section of the sandwich. I chose to go with the Air Max 95 silhouette as the waved stripes across the shoe resembled the layered cross section of a sandwich. 

In addition to the more overt references to the sandwich, I wanted to incorporate more subtle elements to encompass the overall bodega experience. Elements include:

  • Inner and outer stripe pattern to resemble layers of cheese, bacon, and egg.
  • Red logo on the tongue to symbolize ketchup as a condiment in the sandwiches.
  • A tinfoil pattern on the inner sole of the shoe and clear outer sole to both resemble the packaging the sandwich comes in.
  • Aqua and pink laces as color references to the dollar Arizona Green Tea cans often purchased at the bodega.

Finalist Campaign

After completing the design session, I was selected as one of three finalists to represent NYC in the upcoming Nike: On Air campaign. Fans around the world would be able to vote for their favorite designs from each city (NYC, Seoul, Tokyo, Shanghai, Paris, London) and the top design from each city would be selected to be created and sold the following year. 

With the help of the Nike product design team, I was able to finalize my design in digital mockups and promote my design during the official week long competition.