kottke.org posts about shoes

The shoe masterMar 18 2014

Hitoshi Mimura

That is a bespoke running shoe made by a small company started by Hitoshi Mimura, who is considered one of the top shoe designers in the world. Mimura had great success at Asics, outfitting Olympic gold medal runners with shoes lighter, grippier, and more breathable than those worn by competitors, but now he has struck out on his own.

"I take 13 measurements of the foot, each foot has to be measured separately," explains the sensei of shoemaking. "I only trust hand-measuring. Currently, each shoe takes about three weeks to make, mainly due to determining which materials to use." Preparation is also key. "For a world championships or Olympics I check the course once or twice. I went to Beijing three times."

A NY Times feature on Mimura written before the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing emphasized the designer's reliance on rice husks in the soles for grippiness. Mimura takes his job and his responsibility to the runners very seriously:

Surreptitiously, Mimura made soles of two slightly different thicknesses, to compensate for the fact that Takahashi's left leg was eight millimeters -- about a third of an inch -- longer than her right leg. She had tried a pair of the uneven soles before the Sydney Olympics, but felt uncomfortable.

Still, Mimura felt Takahashi needed such shoes to win and to avoid a recurrence of pain caused by the disparity in her legs. Without Takahashi's knowledge, Mimura gave her the uneven soles, then wrote a letter of resignation, in case she failed to win gold.

"I decided to take full responsibility because I made this pair against her wishes," Mimura said of the letter. "I didn't have to hand it over. It's still in my desk."

That is belief in yourself and in your craft. Many people believe in "giving people not what they want but what they need" but how many of them will put their livelihood on the line for it?

Cristiano Ronaldo's dazzle shoesDec 15 2011

Nike has designed a soccer shoe for Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo that uses a striped pattern on one side of the shoe designed to confuse opponents as to which way Ronaldo might be moving his feet.

Dazzle Shoes

The cleats look remarkably different from each side of Ronaldo. From the right, they have a clean look with pinstripes. From the left, though, there are thick stripes with a red accent line. Furthermore, the asymmetrical design makes a defender's judgment that much harder, as the visual effect of Ronaldo turning his foot in one direction may not come across exactly the same as reality.

Reminds me of the dazzle camouflage used on military ships in WWI and WWII.

Seinfeld's sneakers, a complete guideMay 24 2011

Jerry Seinfeld seemingly wore a different pair of sneakers (mostly Nikes) on his TV show each week...here are 50 pages of analysis of Jerry's shoe choices. For 90s athletic shoe and Seinfeld superfans only. (via @cory_arcangel)

Nike shoe DJsApr 15 2010

Watch as a pair of Tokyo DJs play a bunch of musical shoes.

Please note:

The NIKE FREE RUN+ is absolutely a running shoe.
Shoes sold at retail will NOT make music when bent or twisted.

(via @ftrain)

Optical illusion shoesJun 04 2009

It took me at least 30 seconds of looking at these shoes to realize that the woman wasn't floating two inches off the ground and what I thought were shadows are actually heels. Even knowing the secret, the effect switches for me like a Necker cube or the spinning dancer.

Around All-Star time a couple of weeksFeb 29 2008

Around All-Star time a couple of weeks ago, Nike released a shoe called the Nike Trash Talk, "the first Nike performance basketball sneaker completely produced from manufacturing waste". The shoe, worn by Steve Nash in a recent game, looks a bit like Frankenstein's monster with all the exposed stitching; it's a beautiful shoe and I want a pair. The problem is that it's one of those limited edition deals...which means they're already all sold out and sitting on the shelves of sneaker collectors next to hundreds of other boxes of shoes that will never be worn. I looked on eBay and found two pair but not in my size. What are my chances of getting a pair of these at approximately retail price? I'm not looking for a collectors item...I just want to wear them!

Ellen Ugelstad's photo series depicting people andSep 05 2007

Ellen Ugelstad's photo series depicting people and their shoes. The midsections? They are not needed.

Shoe-fitting fluoroscopes were used in the 30s, 40Mar 19 2007

Shoe-fitting fluoroscopes were used in the 30s, 40s, and 50s to x-ray customers' feet to make sure their potential new shoes were fitting correctly. The machines were eventually banned because of radiation concerns, but not before causing some injuries to their operators. "Many shoe salespersons put their hands into the x-ray beam to squeeze the shoe during the fitting. As a result, one saleswoman who had operated a shoe fitting fluoroscope 10 to 20 times each day over a ten year period developed dermatitis of the hands." (via that's how it happened)

A bunch of really uncomfortable women's shoes.Feb 27 2007

A bunch of really uncomfortable women's shoes. These are almost architecture, not fashion. (via ahhhhhh!!!!)

Nike hightops for sale. Price: $8500. Sneakers are the new wine.Oct 25 2006

Nike hightops for sale. Price: $8500. Sneakers are the new wine.

Scott Nelson produces a "tribute brand" calledJan 30 2006

Scott Nelson produces a "tribute brand" called MIKE that's an homage to Michael Jordan, Nike branding, and shoes. After looking at his products (photos and interviews here and here), I'm amazed Nike hasn't sued him back to the Stone Age. Nelson's site is mike23.com.

DMC, the latter half of Run-DMC, hasNov 29 2005

DMC, the latter half of Run-DMC, has abandoned his trademark (my) Adidas for Le Coq Sportif.

A US antropologist says that weaker toesAug 25 2005

A US antropologist says that weaker toes found in human skeletons from 26,000-40,000 years ago indicates when humans started wearing sturdy shoes.

This one guy tried to get theJul 26 2005

This one guy tried to get the word "sweatshop" printed on his custom Nike shoes and Nike wouldn't let him. "The Personal iD on my custom ZOOM XC USA running shoes was the word 'sweatshop.' Sweatshop is not: 1) another's party's trademark, 2) the name of an athlete, 3) blank, or 4) profanity. I choose the iD because I wanted to remember the toil and labor of the children that made my shoes. Could you please ship them to me immediately."

24 different ways to lace your shoesJul 26 2005

24 different ways to lace your shoes.

First Pullover is a new blog aboutJul 13 2005

First Pullover is a new blog about footwear design and development. The editor works as a product manager for Hummel, a Danish shoe company.

Staff at The Spotted Pig restaurant inMay 11 2005

Staff at The Spotted Pig restaurant in NYC wear shoes custom-designed for the restaurant. Can Air Batali's be far behind?

Tags related to shoes:
fashion Nike music sports lists

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