PENSOLE x Future of Footwear: Aric Armon
We gave you a look at some of the finalists for Pensole X Future of Footwear, now we give you an exclusive look at the winners announced at Magic's FN PLatform in Las Vegas. Broke up into five different categories (athletic, dress, casual, skate, and kids) Conceptkicks got the chance to talk to the designers about the experiance and whats next.
For this segment we'll focus on the winner of the athletic category, Aric Armon. Aric is a super talented young designer who has made his way onto the site before with his work in the Adidas sponsored Pensole class. Be sure to check out his winning project from Pensole x Future of Footwear's athletic category below!
CK: How did you first find out about the Pensole x Future of Footwear program?
Well I initially entered the previous Pensole class that was sponsored by Adidas and was there in Oregon for 3 weeks. During that experience I entered again into the Future of Footwear program and Dwayne chose me to come back to compete for that. I literally went home for a few days and then came right back and I am really happy I did.
CK: What were some of the things you were looking to get out of the class?
Being there for three weeks at the Adidas class really proved to me that Shoe design was exactly what I wanted to do but I knew there was still a lot more to learn and a lot more people to meet. I had never done a tech pack before and this class was going to take things to a level that actually had to be made so all of the details had to be taken care of.
CK: Being surrounded by a class of so many talented designers along with D'wayne and the constant flow of industry talent, what is one thing you feel you were able to give back to the class?
I think one of the things I am strongest with is the engineering and physics behind building things. I've always been able to visualize stuff like that in my head. This experience has been awesome because I could help people with that but they helped me more with the aesthetics and the design requirements of a basketball shoe, things that I needed help on.
CK: Anybody who has been to Pensole or have been in the industry long enough know it isn't about the shoes. What motivates you to be a footwear designer?
The people I have met this summer have been the coolest and most hard working people that I have ever met. The relationships that I formed are truly going to last for many years to come. The footwear industry is so small and everyone is truly about sharing things they've learned and helping out those of us who are trying to learn. E. Scott Morris came in and spent his Saturday helping us out, one of the legends of the industry just came in and truly cared to share his knowledge, it literally couldn't have gotten better than that.
CK: How did it feel to have your design in your hands?
It felt like I just gave birth to something. After working on something for a month, having images of it go through my head every time I closed my eyes... and finally holding it? I was speechless. It looked exactly how I envisioned it. All my lines were there, all the details were there and even the things that were different I liked. I just couldn't stop looking at it.
CK: Can you walk us through the thought behind your concept and shed some light on the journey it took to make it to Vegas?
Well when I was given the project, all the info I got was that it needed to be $100 and background on the things that Drive Nation (the brand) stood for. I had to come up with the design language as well as the functions. After designing the brief, I thought about who the target market was going to be and it was a 16 year old playground kid named Mikey. And one thing about that occurs when you are a 16 year old kid is that you go through period of time where your shoes don't fit because you are buying shoes too big to compensate for your growth spurts. So fit became the focus for what I was solving for and I came up with a system that allowed the tongue to combine with a form fitting medial panel. The tongue was then attached to eye loops that allows the entire side of the shoe to wrap the foot when the laces are tightened, locking down the midfoot, keeping it from sliding inside the shoe. There were many hours of sketching, performance prototyping, tape-ups, and problem solving that narrowed down into the final design that got sampled and presented in Vegas.
CK: Are there any plans for this to hit the shelves anytime soon?
I hope so. I think its going to have a lot to do with when Drive Nation decides to debut but I think the shoe had a positive impact on people. There's nothing I would like more to see people wearing my shoe and being happy with it's performance.
CK: With this experience coming to a close and a whole lot more opportunities opening up, what is next for you?
I'm going to Disneyland!!! Just kidding haha, I still have one more semester at Academy of Art University this fall. In Vegas I was approached to do some freelance work which should be an awesome side job to work on while finishing up but eventually I would love the opportunity to start my own brand. It's always been a goal of mine to work for myself.
CK: Any last thoughts you would like to add?
Yea, all the people I had class with truly have been the best part of this experience. I appreciate every last one for the people that they are and the kinds of people they truly are. I know I'll be seeing you guys around the industry when we get there.
CK: You're already there... thanks Aric!