Future of Footwear 2012 Lifestyle Winner: Jonning Chng

This week we have part 2 of our 5 weeks series, catching up with the 2012 Future of Footwear winners.  By now many of you are hard at work on your PENSOLE: 2013 Future of Footwear submissions, but you will not want to miss as we catch up with Jonning Chng.  Jonning’s Sneaker Freaker design earned him Future of Footwear in the Lifestyle category.

Did you have any background in footwear prior to the Future of Footwear class?
I have a background in Industrial design, and am a sucker for sneakers.  By marrying the 2 things I love to do, I developed a passion in footwear design.  Prior to FoF class, I had been working closely with a local sneaker store designing collaborative SMU releases.

What was the Future of Footwear class like?
My experience in the FoF class was great! The level of creativity in the class was just amazing, and to be able to interact with like-minded people that share similar passion enhances the whole learning experience.  The main take away for me was the friends I’ve made in the short time with we’ve spent as a class.

As part of the class, you where selected to attend the Platform trade show in Las Vegas, what was that like?
It was definitely an eye opener as it was also the first time for me to be in Vegas.  At the trade show we showcased our projects to the public.  It was a great platform to receive feedback from professionals and to gauge ourselves against the industry standards.

You where selected as the winner of the Future of Footwear in the Lifestyle category.  Can you tell us about your design?
I was designing a spring/summer lifestyle shoe for Sneaker Freaker, which is to be inspired by the adidas ZX running range of products.  One of the first things I did was get in touch with Woody, the founder of Sneaker Freaker.  His all time favourite ZX model was the ZX8000 that was a 90s classic.  The fact that Woody liked everything about the original design was quite a challenge for me – I didn’t want to be seen as the one to spoil such a classic design.  So I decided that I want to retain the classic running shoe aesthetics, while exploring into using high performance and ‘futuristic’ materials and finishing.

I drew aesthetic hints inspired from iconic architectural structures in Melbourne, Australia (where Sneaker Freaker is based at). The design tells a story of high breathability with mesh webbing on the vamp and quarter panels – suitable for those warm summer days.  Overlaying the mesh is Bone White 3M reflective leather.  The reflective treatment on the upper gives the shoe a ‘surprising’ glow when light shines on them – transforming a classic looking shoe into a head turner.  Under laying the quarter mesh is a midfoot lock down system that is inspired by the Webb Bridge structure.  The glossy white TPU heel counter is a throw back to the original design and seeks design styling from the Plymouth Roadrunner 1972 – Woody’s favorite car.  The toe cap and heel panel flows continuously overlaying the midsole, revealing the centre die-cut detail.  The die-cut midsole reduces material used and allows you to see-thru from the sides, highlighting the essence of airflow and light weightiness.  ‘Icy’ translucent treatment on the outsole gives the shoe a ‘cool’ vibe.  Finally subtle hits of grenadine red accents on the shoe pays tribute to the Sneaker Freaker brand.  I call this shoe CHEECH, the name of Woody’s pet beagle – which is the main inspiration of my color story.

At the Platform trade show, you where presented with a pullover of your design.  What was it like to see a pullover of your design for the first time?
Awesome!  The feeling of seeing, touching, smelling 4 weeks of hard work  in your hands is indescribable.  Though I have had samples made before, this time it felt different.  This time, every detail on the shoe are designed by me.

What have you been up to over the last 8 months, since I saw you in Las Vegas for the FoF 2012?
I’m now designing casual lifestyle shoes for a local company.

Congrats!

What advice do you have for designers looking to be apart of the Future of Footwear class of 2013?
Go for it! And while you’re at it, keep an open mind – be receptive to feedback.  And most importantly enjoy the experience!

Jonning, Thanks for taking the time. 

Register Here to learn more about Future of Footwear 2013