Fila designer, Tobin Dorn recently hit me up with his latest project; the Fila ‘Kenya Racer 2.0’, and it looks like they’re serious about taking their running game to a whole new level.
Tobin went into great detail about the design and development of their latest high-performance shoe, detailing the pain staking attention to detail and months of hard work that have gone into creating them. From bad ass super secret labs in Brazil to developing specific anatomical lasts, check out the full story behind Fila’s ‘Kenya Racer 2.0’, below –
‘FILA Brazil has been designing, developing and testing new performance footwear technologies at their secret, high security, state-of-the-art design center in Ivoti, Brazil, known as the DCC (DASS Creation Center).’ – Tobin
‘I am the performance design director for the FILA division at the DCC in Ivoti, Brazil and this is the story behind the ‘Kenya Racer 2.0’:
FILA created and developed a high performance running platform called ‘Kenya Racer Pro’. The platform consists of competition and training performance footwear products targeting amateur and pro athletes. Designing in collaboration with the FILA running team and FILA head coach, Moacir ‘Coquinho’ Marconi, allowed the performance design team to get inside the heads of the fastest marathon runners on the planet, the Kenyans, that resulted in the creation of the Kenya Racer 2.0 among several other models that will debut later this year.’
‘The first steps of our ideation involved getting to know what the FILA running team liked and didn’t like in their current running shoes to then make adjustments and evolutions that would deliver immediate benefits. We wanted to incorporate their Kenyan DNA into the new cushioning technology that would connect the team and the FILA product on a higher level. They wanted comfort, performance, rebound, perfect fit and style. Design sessions, internal design reviews, digital virtual presentations and internet calls with all FILA collaborators allowed us to design the fastest running shoe the Kenyans are using to date. On first test trials several records were broken and the team embraced the Kenya Racer 2.0 as their competition shoe. All the top placements at the most important marathon of the year in South America takes place in São Paulo, Brazil on December 31st. It is called the São Silvestre and has more than 26,000 competitors from all over the world. In 2013 the top mens and womens places were all Kenyan, all FILA sponsored and all wearing the Kenya Racer 2.0.’
‘Design, development and testing involved the intense and focused collaboration from several internal departments at the DCC that included Research & Developoment, headed by Henrique Hermes and Jonas Schneider, Biomechanics Testing, headed by Naomi Onodera, Design, lead by Tobin Dorn, Developmental Support, Alex Rosa and Nadir Bohn, and Marketing, headed by Felipe Rosa.’
‘We made several major changes to this model that previous FILA running shoes don’t incorporate such as developing an anatomic last that ensured a perfect fit, a dynamic stretch mesh that adapts to a runners foot expansion during a marathon and ‘no sew’ upper technology that gives a sleek, modern and aerodynamic visual. We also eliminated many materials that absorb sweat and moisture such as collar padding, tongue padding and cotton lacing.’
‘We invested over 18 months developing the concept, last, outsole and upper components for the Kenya Racer 2.0 and over 6 months of intense lab and street testing. The testing processes we used were: internal shoe temperatures, running kinematics, impact forces and in-shoe plantar pressures. The Kenya Racer Pro platform was very highly rated by the biomechanical tests in all aspects. Featured in this model are favorable stability and impact damping results, which make this shoe a great choice for mid and long distance training.’
‘Design inspiration was taken from life in Kenya as accounted to us by the FILA Running team and their head coach. Life is simple. It is easy to stay focused and dream big. Their ‘don’t worry be happy’ philosophy on life helps them prepare for life’s obstacles as well as training. We added an 8 ball print detail on the inside tongue knowing that the Kenyans really enjoy playing billiards on their down time and that this message would start them off right for every training or competition as they entered into that state of ‘Hakuna Matata’.’
‘Additional design and technology stories we created also include:
-The Perfit®System promises a ‘perfect anatomic fit’ every run with a dynamic horizontal stretch to adapt to swelling feet.
-Cage®AMH is an outsole guidance transitional design that aids in a smoother transition from heel strike to toe off.
-Flow® is an upper mesh material story delivering optimum breathability.
-SuperAction® is a specially developed EVA low profile midsole compound that delivers rebound without compromising cushioning.’
‘The R&D team wanted to deliver not only a true performance product to our consumer but a memorable running experience. The champion bloodline, no problem ‘Hakuna Matata’ outlook on life, hard work and a real performance experience can also be seen in the personalized Kenya Racer Pro shoe box package.’
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