Nike is known for its classic silhouettes; the Air Force 1, Air Max 97, the retro Cortez. You name it, you’ve probably got at least one of these staple styles in your rotation. What the brand is also known for however, is boundary-breaking design and unparalleled innovation when it comes to footwear construction. The latest of which is the women’s exclusive ZoomX Vista Grind, which was released in early July and has been spotted on pretty much all of Instagram’s cool girls in the month since.
A fusion of substance and style, the ZoomX Vista Grind is truly what you’d call a statement sneaker so we caught up with Shamees Aden, one of the designers behind the shoe to find out more. Read on to learn how the concept for this trainer developed, the sustainable elements that informed the design and if we’re likely to see any new iterations soon.
In related news, be sure to check out the latest colorway of this sculptural sneaker.
Could you tell us a bit about the concept behind the shoe and how the idea first came to the table?
About a year ago a team of us from running, training and sportswear went to Paris to meet our consumers; inspired by the Women’s World Cup and the city of Paris with hopes of creating a new style that takes it to the edge. Influenced by the clash of the city and suburbs, we wanted a sneaker that is both rebellious and refined, merges the modern and authentic and fits into the worlds of high fashion and the street.
It goes without saying it’s a statement silhouette. Although it features a lot of Nike innovation, do you think your background in the fashion industry ultimately led to how conceptual and style-led this sneaker is?
It was a combination of things – my approach to design, Nike innovation and the objective of the product. The key deliverable was to create a conceptual sneaker that showcases the new Nike innovation to the bold and visionary female consumers. The function of the design led the aesthetic.
We wanted to reflect juxtaposition in the sneaker with more a refined upper look, clashed with the raw, angular shape that is seen in the midsole and outsole design. The upper design was inspired by racing DNA reinterpreted through modern materials and layering. We also have an asymmetric tongue which is made out of a mesh material to add more depth to the semi-translucent upper finish.
A core part of this sneaker is the unmissable midsole unit and how the cushioning is made from recycled off-cuts of other midsoles. How important was sustainability in the design process for this silhouette?
Sustainability was a key driver in this project because we were utilizing the scrap ZoomX foam from running sneakers and inputting this technology into the Vista Grind. We didn’t compromise on the technology, the scrap foam still has the same cushioning innovation. We have taken the running innovation scrap and created a unique comfort sensation for your everyday commute in the city.
The cut-out detailing on the midsole showing off the cushioning seems like a nod to the visible Air pioneered by Tinker Hatfield; was this a conscious design detail?
The midsole was inspired by the brutalist architecture in the suburbs of Paris, we were really inspired by French photographer Laurent Kronental’s work.
What were the most technically-challenging elements when it came to actually producing the shoe?
Ensuring that we didn’t compromise on the design intent and the innovation of the mid and outsole. We managed to create a bold and exaggerated design aesthetic for this technology. We were very fortunate to have an amazing development and engineering team at Nike who didn’t compromise on the vision of the sneaker.
What drove the decision to make this a women’s-only silhouette?
Georgina James is the creative director on this project and wanted to celebrate the Women’s World Cup moment and the city of Paris. She challenged us to create a provocative new sneaker that speaks to our female consumer. We created a bold new silhouette driven by innovation and inspired by culture. We designed a sneaker for ‘her’ but it’s been greatly received by the guys who have also loved the model. A win for her is also a win for him!
It seems like the ZoomX Vista Grind has already become a hit with consumers; can we expect to see further iterations of the silhouette in the near future?
Yes – stay tuned!