Future of Footwear 2012 Athletic Winner: Aric Armon

As I’m sure you have seen we are now taking submissions for PENSOLE: Future of Footwear 2013.  In order to help get your creative juices flowing we decided to reach out to last years winners so that you can hear, straight from them, what FOF is all about.  Over the next 5 weeks we will catch up with each of the winners so that you can see the designs that earned them the title Future of Footwear 2012.

First up is Aric Armon, whose Basketball shoe earned him the Future of Footwear in the Athletic category.

First of all congratulations, it was great meeting you at the FN Platform trade show.  Did you have any footwear background prior to the Future of Footwear class?
I always had an interest in footwear design. At the time I was finishing up my degree in Industrial Design at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and from time to time I would sketch shoes in my notebooks whenever I had extra time. It was always just a fun thing to draw. But the biggest crash course I had in footwear design was in the Adidas Pensole class a few weeks before the Future of Footwear class. That is where I learned the most about the process of designing footwear and realized there is a huge difference between “sketching shoes” and “designing shoes”.

Tell us about your experience in the Future of Footwear class.
That class was one of the best experiences of my life. Being around all of my fellow classmates, who all came from different backgrounds, really opened my eyes to a lot of possibilities. Everyone there shared the same passion I had and it pushed me to do my best. The truth is I have never worked so hard on a project and not have it feel like work. I really learned a lot about the process, which is really unique to footwear, from ideation to tech packs. There was so much to learn and experience, from D’wayne teaching us about design, to footwear legends like E. Scott coming in and helping us with our projects; I just wanted to soak it all in.

As part of the class, you where selected to attend the Platform trade show in Las Vegas, what was that like?
The trade show was another awesome experience. During the show we casually talked to people walking by about our projects and by about the twentieth time explaining my concept, I had my story down. It was definitely an eye-opener in regards to being able to explain what I had done and doing it in a way that was quick and interesting, which is often the hardest part of presenting any project. I also got to meet a lot of people from the industry which opened up a lot more opportunities for me.

You where selected as the winner of the Future of Footwear in the Athletic shoe category.  Can you tell us about your design?
Yea, I was tasked with creating a basketball shoe for a new company called Drive Nation. So I began my process by thinking about my consumer and what a 14 year old kid would want in a shoe. I remembered being that age and going through those summer growth spurts and what that meant for my shoes. I would grow out of my shoes in literally a couple months so when I bought a new pair, I would buy a shoe that was too big, anticipating that I would grow into it. This obviously led to other issues with blisters because my feet would be sliding around on the inside of my shoes. So I focused on a lockdown fit system for the mid foot which would help to alleviate some of that sliding. After that I decided to build the shoe by only adding what was necessary; a toe box that kept the foot secure in lateral movements, and two heel “wings” to keep your heel locked down to the midsole. I then brought the midsole up around the heel to further resist the ” blowout” which occurs during cuts. Aesthetically I was inspired by the spear, which is what drive nation’s logo was inspired by, so I wanted to create a very angular and chiseled look to the shoe.

At the Platform trade show, you where presented with a pullover.  What was it like to see a pullover of your design for the first time?
I was in awe, It felt like Christmas or like I had just given birth to something. It was a crazy feeling seeing something come from your head and into your hands. I swear my cheeks hurt from smiling so much.

What have you been up to over the last 8 months, since I saw you in Las Vegas for the FoF 2012?
Well I finished up my last semester at school and graduated with my degree in Industrial design. A few weeks after graduation I moved up here to Portland to intern as a footwear designer at Adidas. It has been a pretty busy year for me. Congrats

What advice do you have for designers looking to be apart of the Future of Footwear class of 2013?

I would say that if you have a passion for footwear design then there is no reason not to. The class isn’t about who can draw the best, or who has the most experience; It’s truly about who has the passion for it. So regardless of skill level, you should submit something that shows your ability to think from a unique perspective, don’t do anything that is already out there or is expected.

Aric, Thank you for your time.   

Register Here to learn more about Future of Footwear 2013