Mr. Bailey
Designer + Footwear Architect | Founder of @ConceptKicks | Instagram @MrBailey_ | www.MrBailey.co.uk

All posts by Mr. Bailey

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A Closer Look At Shanghai Based Brand KKtP

Footwear designer, Justin Lee recently shared some of KKtP’s latest silouhettes via his portfolio. Created by designer, Kim Kiroic back in 2013, KKtP has quietly evolved into a super inspiring young brand and become a collective that collaborate to create beautiful product, some of which you can see below.

Utilizing Vibram outsoles and combinig them with unique upper constructions, from an incredibly clean duck boot/sandal strap inspired knitted sock sneaker, to a techy/chunky version of a Chuck Taylor-ish upper, each design is relatable, yet unique.

You can see more of KKtP’s latest silhouettes, below.
 

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Nike Combine “FlyPrint” With Their PEBAX Midsole On Zoom VaporFly Elite

3D printing is undoubtedly an exciting technology. The freedom it gives us to create incredibly complex structures and imagine a world where consumers can literally download their next sneaker offers up provocative perspective of how it may effect the entire product industry in the not so distant future.

It’s been a thought expressed by quite a few designers and developers that 3D printing may be the future of footwear manufacturing, but that it may have to applied slightly differently then it has been to this point. For example, perhaps rather then 3D printing the soles themselves, we print the moulds that make the soles, or…perhaps we 3D print the uppers.

After speaking to some friends at Nike a few months back, they assured me that they were working on something a little special. Of course, they wouldn’t tell me what exactly, but I’m assuming they were reffering to “FlyPrint”.

Many have tried, and still are, but it seems Nike has figured out a way to (atleast partially) apply 3D printing to a sneakers upper and have it directly effect the performance of a sneaker positively, which is no easy feat. Applying a 3D printed part or sole to a shoe for purely marketing purposes is easy, lots of brands have done that, but actually applying it in a way that cuts the shoes weight and allows moisture to evaporate more efficiently (the only complaint that Nike athlete, Kipchoge had about the earlier silhouette) is a pretty big step for 3D and how it relates to the performance footwear industry.

Creating mass produced 3D printed footwear is still a ways off, and really this is still something that is very specific to high perfoming athletes. The availabiltiy and cost is still something that needs to be figured out, which honestly probably makes sense for such a specialised sneaker like this for right now (I’m not sure you’d want to walk around in a PEBAX sole with a carbon fibre shank casually for too long anyway).
The speicifc advantages for athletes being that the 3D printed upper allows for quicker adaptations to be made to the upper to better fit the athletes needs, as you can tweak individual “FlyPrint” fibres to adjust fit without effecting the overall functionality of the upper. With it also being placed on top of a PEBAX midsole, offering a lighter and more energy returning sole unit, these sneakers are packed with cutting-edge material compounds and construction methods.

You can find out more about “FlyPrint” here, as well as seeing a short video and some beauty shots of some “FlyPrint” uppers applied to a few different Nike models, below.

Images via Sole Collector & Nike.
 
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A Closer Look At The LI-NING WAY OF WADE 2 ACE NYFW

The recent invasion of super uniquely designed footwear from Chinese performance brands continues to infiltrate the sneaker market, with these LI-NING WAY OF WADE 2 ACE NYFW, being a perfect example.

Unveiled at New York Fashion Week’s “China Day” in Feburary. The China Day was held in association with The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and sponsored by Tmall. Four brands – Li-Ning, CLOT, Peacebird and Chen Peng were selected to attend (more info about that here).

There are a couple things that stand out to me the most about this shoe; the first being that the balance of performance and style in Asian sportswear brands seem to be getting better and better with every release, the other being the words “DESIGNED IN BEIJING and MADE IN CHINA” embossed boldly on the sneaker’s medial quarter panel – which to me, signifies a massive shift in the way the Chinese are beginning to embrace their own, Chinese made brands and products. This may in fact, be one of the boldest claims ever made by Chinese brands.

Whether you love the shoe or hate it, it’s causing a reaction, which is (usually) a massive step in the right direction for any brand.

You can see more beauty shots of the heavyily acronymed “WOW 2 ACE NYFW” from LI-NING, below.
 

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Nike “London On Air” Event Recap

As some of you may already know, ConceptKicks recently partnered up with Nike to be Mentors at their recent On Air event in London.
A four day event, each day holding two sessions of roughly 35 pariticipants from across the country, each vying to have their creation made by Nike to represent London on a global platform. Our job was to essentially guide each person through their idea, which silhouette would suit it best and how to execute their concept in an imaginative and unique way.
Each day we selected 10 ten of the top entries, which would then be wittled down at the end of the event to 3 final submissions, judged by Nike Senior Design Director Nate Jobe, rapper Skepta, menswear designer Mini Swoosh and Nike VP Creative Director of Colour Design Courtney Daily. The final 3 going to public vote to decide which shoe will rep London.

It’s rare to be able to interact face to face with aspiring designers and creators, usually I only get to do that via sketchy IG DM’s or via fleeting moments at tradeshows and random fashion week shows, so it was pretty special to be able to be in an environment where there was a little more time to focus on the creative process. Linking with the other mentors was also a massive plus, with Seetal Solanki and DK Woon of Ma-tt-er mentoring material, Dom Sebastian mentoring Colour selection and Mini Swoosh on embellishment, with Marie Odinot, Caroline Fullerton and Courtney Daily of Nike mentoring on all the above with myself and David Mawdsley representing ConceptKicks and stealing as many free coffee’s as we could.

All in all the event was amazing to be part of, hopefully this is just the beginning of more like this in the future. It’ll be interesting to see if we can build on what we did last week and push the limits of what can be offered in terms of more emphasis on pushing design & innovation, getting the community involved and harnessing each others knowledge and creativity to help create and inspire future product.

Big shout out to the whole Nike fam and everyone involved in making the event a success.

You can see some shots from the beautifully executed event below.

Images via Hassan Joof, Hotel Creative, Caroline Fullerton, & Richard Davies
 
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Many, many free coffee's

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David flexing in his Supreme x Public Enemy puffer jacket and bobble hat combo

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Skepta & Nate dropping gems

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One dad joke too many 😂


 

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Organic X Machine By Meline Katchi

Nike Designer, Meline Katchi, a.k.a. “Mel The Maker” a.k.a @meline_khachatourian has been sharing her latest project, Organic X Machine via her Instagram account for the past week.
Juxtaposing the organic form with manufactured elements, the project sees “sculptural interpretations of footwear that merges man with machine, in most unusual ways”.

You can see more of Meline Katchi”s, a.k.a. “Mel The Maker’s” a.k.a @meline_khachatourian’s super inspiring, Organic X Machine project below.
 
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Fila Running Capsule Concept 1.0 By Guoyi Gu

Footwear Designer, Guoyi “Goofy Banana” Gu recently shared some initial sketch/renders of his Fila Running Capsule Concept 1.0.

With each capsule being individually moulded and slotting into the unique midsole, the concept showcases a super intriguing outsole/midsole combination, that could potentially offer some interesting cushioning options.

You can see more of Guoyi’s, Fila Running Capsule Concept 1.0 below.
 

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Under Armour Minus T2 by Kurtis Hoffman

Created during his internship at Under Armour in the summer of 2017, designer Kurtis Hoffman created this super interesting Under Armour Minus T2 concept for Iron Man participants.

Every second counts when transitioning diciplines, so with that in mind Kurtis created a strap that would allow the front and rear of the shoe to be fastened at the samne time (see GIF below).

“This was a personal project done during my internship at Under Armour Summer 2017. I approached this project with the intentions of the final product to be conceptual. Thanks to everyone who helped!” – Kurtis

You can see more of Kurtis’ Under Armour Minus T2 project, below.
 
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Discarded and Remastered By Helen Kirkum

While many just post pictures of their favourite Nike Air Max’s for “Air Max Day”, Helen Kirkum decided she wanted to take it up a few notches and completely remaster an old and discarded pair.

“Happy Air Max Day // Set myself a 1Day Challenge to see what I can make with an old worn out pair.” – Helen

Reconstructing her old pair in her signature style, the shoe’s are a super inspiring mixture of misplaced eye-rows, Nike swooshes and an overall medling of pattern usage and colour pops.
You can see what Helen came up with below, and make sure to head to her Instagram page to see her saved “Air Max Day” story to see the full shoe remastering process.
 
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Do We Still Need Shoe Laces?

Last year, “Sneakers: The Book” co-author Howie Kahn put me in contact with Fantastic Man Magazine’s Assistant Editor, Eliot Haworth to discuss the future of shoe laces.

Will technology eventually render the age-old method of fastening your sneakers with laces outdated and inefficient? Or will they always have a special part in the footwear world?

The Business Of Fashion recently posted an early, online exclusive of the article that will be featured in their 27th edition of Fantastic Man (hitting shelves in bookstores near you soon). Below you can read an exerpt of the in-depth article.

“The pursuit of new and fabulous alternatives to laces has long been an obsession of the trainer industry. Ever since the Reebok Pump was released in 1989, selling more than $1 billion worth of units and opening up a new market for novel fastenings (at that time limited to slip-on Vans and Velcro), there has been a constant stream of new gimmicks. Some have been successful: the Puma Disc (a dial system that fastens a series of wires) and the Reebok InstaPump Fury (a fully laceless version of the Pump) have been in continuous production since the 1990s. Others, like the Nike Kukini (a laceless slip-on fastened by a web of translucent rubber) and the Adidas HUG (featuring a fold-out lever-and-pulley system), were more like failed visions of the future.” – Eliot Haworth

For the full article, head here.

Photography by Anuschka Blommers Niels Schumm
 

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Reebok Releases Their Second Sneaker Made With Liquid Factory Technology

Reebok has released a second iteration of their sneakers constructed with Liquid Factory technology, a manufacturing technique that uses a digital process with software, robotics and materials, and most notably, a proprietary liquid material created for Reebok by the German chemical company, BASF.

“From the ingenuity of the Reebok Future lab comes Reebok Liquid Factory, an innovative digital process using state-of-the-art robotics and liquid materials. This limited-edition Reebok Floatride experiments with two new “liquid” elements: the liquid lace system, a stretch-to-fit web to replace shoelaces, and a lightweight liquid grip outsole to provide increased traction. The result is an innovative new shoe that looks and feels like nothing else.” – Reebok

I must admit, their first release – while showing a lot of potential – for me looked like it needed a little more refinement before it would truly benefit from the proprietary liquid construction technique. The Liquid Floatride Run however, looks like a pretty big step in the right direction. The tech looks a lot more palatable within the design, the “liquid lace” makes sense, and the “liquid grip” would be interesting to test out.

You can see more of Reebok’s latest Liquid Floatride Run, below.
 
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No.One Breaks Down The Making Process Of Their Bravo Kudu Edition

If you’ve been following ConceptKicks for a while, you’ll be very familiar with our appreciation for the LA based brand/atelier, No.One. Handcrafting their impeccably well executed footwear in their own shoe making facility in the heart of California, each shoe represents hours of skilled labour.

This time we get a closer look into some of the shoe making processes behind their latest signature Bravo silhouette, this time using Kudu hide – “No.One embraces the patina and imperfections on the hearty Kudu hides sourced from renowned British suede specialists Charles H. Stead. This 6oz nubuck is hand lasted around the Bravo last to give a first look at a tonal Bravo upper.” – No.One

The Bravo Kudu Edition offered in two colors, a military green edition of 12 and grey edition, also of 12.
You can see the development break-down in full, below.

 

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Cutting

SLIDE 1: Using magnets to hold the upper pattern in place, we cut the upper from the Kudu hide. We embrace the natural patina and scars on the hide and purposely include them into the pattern.

SLIDE 2: Sharp knives equal clean cuts, edges are sharpened after ever cut.

SLIDE 3: Closer look at some of the markings on the hide earned in their life in the wild. These hides from Charles H Stead are procured from Namibia and South Africa.

 

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Components

SLIDE 1: Heel piece of the Bravo Kudu edition have been cut and embossed.

 

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Lining

SLIDE 1: Plonge Lambskin lining has been assembled and is setting in the sun waiting to be stitched.

SLIDE 2: While we embrace the patina and markings on the Kudu we look for perfection in the Plonge Lambskin lining. Only blemish free skins are selected for this process and our partner specializes in making this luxury lambskin article.

SLIDE 3: Assembling the Plonge lining on the bench top, they will be hammered together with small dabs of glue to hold them in place for stitching.

 

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Sun Curing

SLIDE 1: Leather lasting insoles are molding to the last in the California sun. We let them sit for a day to mold to the shape of the last.

SLIDE 2: Then we trim the edge to get a perfect beveled edge that allows the upper to fold cleanly around when lasting.

 

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Toe Puff

SLIDE 1: We want the toe of the Bravo to be nice and slim, no puffy toes please. So we use this band style toe puff rather then the traditional cap style. Its cemented in place during the lasting process after the lining has been lasted and before the upper is lasted around the toe.

SLIDE 2: Completed toe puff with the lining and upper heel area lasted. Its ready to be completed by lasting the upper toe area.

 

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Lasting

SLIDE 1: Birdseye view of the lasting process, the shoe sits on a lasting stand and the shoemaker uses lasting pliers to pull the leather tight and then hammer in nails to secure it in place.

SLIDE 2: The lasting pliers pulling the upper leather around the front quarters. The flat surface of the pliers will be used to hammer the nail in place.

 

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All that process doesn’t mean a thing if the shoe isn’t dope.

One look and you can tell that these are going to age like a fine wine, getting better with age. Thats what happens when you embrace the imperfections.

 
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Made for the limited few but available to all now at No-One.LA

 

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Christian Tresser Shares Nike Air Max 97 Design Process

From Nike Spiridon renderings, to Reebok Daytona DMX 2000 sketches, footwear designer, Christian Tresser has been casually posting some process sketches, renderings and tech packs behind some of his legendary sneaker designs via his Instagram account for the past few months now.

Below we get a look at the design process behind one of Nike’s most legendary silhouettes; the Nike Air Max 97.
From his inspiration behind the design (a radiating ripple effect from a drop of water), to the initial sketches, and a hand drawn tech pack, Christian’s shared it all.

If you want to hear more about the design from Christian himself, NiceKicks caught up with him last year for an interview, which you can see here.
 
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First sketch of the Air Max ‘97

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The beginning sketches of the Air Max 97, original drawing by me

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Rough sketch, working out the lines, going with the flow

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Original drawings of AM 97 by me

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More of my sketching process of the AM 97

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2015 at Nike H.Q. for Air Max Day #airmaxday

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More Inspiring Concepts by Rose Morph

Brazilian futruist, Rose Morph has been posting a constant stream of beautifully executed, surrealistic concept renderings and sketches.
From safety footwear with headlights embedded into the toe, to soles made from moon rock, Rose’s concepts are bound only by his imagination.

You can see more of Rose’s super inspiring creations, below.
 

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