Design Process of the Mr. Bailey x ekn Footwear Bamboo Runner

The Bamboo Runner marks the first sneaker in the advanced collaborative collection between myself (MrBailey), and sustainable German brand, ekn Footwear.

To say it’s been a long time coming, would be somewhat of an understatement. There’s been a lot of complications along the way, but as with most things a little bit different, that’s unfortunately often the case, though 100% worth it in the end. Basically what this means is that things can start getting a lot more interesting with our collaboration as we start to take their current client base on a bit of a different journey, and introduce styles to a newer audience.

With a lot of current styles using neoprene, it’s a trend that we wanted to hop on in a slightly different, more sustainably minded way. This would allow us to not only compete with a current aesthetic, but also really push the way in which sustainably minded/designed product is viewed; just because something sustainable, it doesn’t mean it can’t be stylish/different. So with that in mind, we sourced an upper material that’s never actually been used on a shoe before; a plant based, recycled neoprene.

The heel lacing is more of a fun, striking aesthetic, with the option to lace to the front if you do actually want to tighten the shoe. There’s also an ‘open book’ heel loop design that’s featured on all the earlier models in our collab. It’s pretty much a literal way we’re telling the story of the brand, embossing/printing small quotes inside that represent what we stand for. The heel and toe also boast vegetable tanned leather, with the toe section having a laser cut pattern to lighten the look and give a nice play between the neoprene and leather materials/colours.

Looking ahead to the future, I really can’t wait for people to see the newest collection of styles, as we’re pushing things much further. Still trying to stay clean and minimal, but offering a unique collection of styles that offer something a little different, things that perhaps look normal at first, but are much, much different when you have a closer look.

For now though you can check out some of the initial inspirations, sketches, renders, early samples and final pictures, below.

If you want a pair yourself you can pick up a pair here.


Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 13.18.16

Mr. Bailey

Product Designer + Footwear Architect | Founder of @ConceptKicks |

Start the conversation