Two years ago Nike unveiled the FlyEase shoe, designed for athletes who have trouble putting on and taking off shoes. A collaboration between Nike designer Tobie Hatfield and a high schooler named Matthew Walzer who has cerebral palsy.
That experience led the athletic giant to double down on its efforts to find a shoe design that would help athletes of all abilities to better control their footwear. Back in October Nike launched the Nike Ease Challenge, an open call to designers, engineers, athletes and everyone else to create a winning shoe design for $50,000 and the chance to see their design come to life. And on April 10th, a judging panel that included Nike CEO Mark Parker, Olympian Carl Lewis, WNBA star Elena Delle Donne, and 17-time Paralympic medalist Tatyana McFadden picked a winner.
Brett Drake from Cheynne, Wyoming re-engineered the support system in the 2016 Nike Hyperdunk into an adaptive fit system, featuring an innovative rear-entry anchored by lightweight magnets.
In a statement, the brand said beyond the $50,000 first prize, Drake will collaborate in the prototyping phase, and begin testing his innovation with athletes of all abilities.