I have recently noticed a global dilemma sweeping through the mindsets of a generation; this dilemma is the idea that Adidas, is better than Nike. Although maybe that is set to change with Kanye’s recent apology to Nike CEO, Mark Parker and with Adidas bringing out new colourway after new colourway of NMDs to the point that people lose interest.
Nike stands head and shoulders above the rest for me because of their mission statement, “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete*” (the asterisk is key here because it is pointing to Bill Bowerman’s (Nike co-founder) definition of an athlete – “If you have a body, you are an athlete.”) and innovate for athletes is exactly what Nike have done. We have Nike to thank for Nike Air, Max Air, Nike Shox, Nike Free, Hyperfuse and the list goes on, but one piece of technology that may have slipped under your radar is Nike FLYEASE.
I’d encourage you to take a look at the whole story of FLYEASE here but basically, it is technology that provides easy access into shoes for people with physical limitations such as Cerebral Palsy and Parkinsons. My favourite thing about development of this technology is that was inspired by a young man called Matthew Walzer. An independent young man who dreamt of going to college, whilst struggling with physical limitations that caused frustration and embarrassment in tasks such as tying his shoes, but through Nike’s mission statement is considered an athlete.
Walzer wrote to renowned Nike designer Tobie Hatfield explaining the problems he was experiencing and to his surprise, was brought onto a journey with Hatfield and the design team to create a solution for Walzer and any athlete experiencing similar difficulties.
FLYEASE technology is now available on the Nike Zoom Lebron Soldier 9 and the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus. Both silhouettes consist of an easy on/off zipper system for getting in/out of the shoe, an adjustable lock down strap and dynamic lockdown cables for a secure fit and look great.
My favourite part about Nike FLYEASE shoes is the asterisk that is placed on the straps/soles of every shoe as a little nod to Nike’s belief “If you have a body, you are an athlete”.
I guess menswear can make a difference in the world when great brands are made up of great people and Tobie Hatfield truly is a great person. Check out this interview with him about the development of the FLYEASE.
I said in my previous article that “My aim here at The Gent Space is to turn the brightness up on the brands shining a light in this world and to help you be a part of their glow”. Nike have teamed up with Spheres, an organisation associated with Hillsong Church that is committed to “Empowering people to lead and impact in every sphere of life” and they were looking to provide FLYEASE shoes for children living with physical disabilities in Gugulethu, South Africa. The good news is that every child has been catered for. If an opportunity arises to contribute to this again, we will post it on The Gent Space so that you have a chance to be a part of the glow.
By Matt Gomez.