Inside the Shoe: A Look at Nike Adapt BB with Eric Avar, VP of Design at Nike

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Modern apparel companies aren’t just making shoes and t-shirts anymore. Nike is one brand looking to stay on the forefront of the tech world as well as the apparel world. One prominent example is the Nike Adapt BB shoe, which can adjusted remotely via the Nike Adapt app.

Nike VP of Design Eric Avar joined Front Office Sports CEO Adam White recently to chat about the shoe, Nike’s latest ventures into the tech realm and the company’s continued dedication to serving the needs of the athlete.

On Nike’s continued growth, particularly within the design department (0:36):

“On one hand, there’s been a massive amount of change. Just how big Nike has gotten, how many designers and experts that we have. But one thing that’s always remained consistent is the design process and working with athletes and listening to the voice of the athlete and solving problems for athletes. So as technology, materials, new methods of make and manufacturing all change and evolve, that fundamental process of working with athletes always stays the same. It’s what drives us.”

On designing the Adapt BB shoe (3:50):

“It always starts with the classic adage that form follows function … this iterative, collaborative design process back and forth between designers and engineers. So that dictated a lot of the overall form of the product.

Using a new lace and creating a new lace architecture and system and using new materials this quadfit material all of these things came together as a holistic design from a performance standpoint. From an overall aesthetic standpoint, it’s really important that products have a point of inspiration, they have a story that’s embedded into the products. We wanted to make it simple, approachable, and have a sense of magic to it and for it to be fun.

I personally pull a lot of inspiration from nature. So we pulled from nature a little bit, just the classic metaphor of a butterfly, so we incorporated that into the product. That was part of the story: a metaphor to represent change and adaptation that we thought was relevant for the product.”

On the Adapt’s place in the company’s metamorphosis moving forward (7:50):

“Even going back to 28 years ago when I started and going all the way back to Bowerman working with athletes, it was always just about working with athletes and solving problems for athletes. I think that will always be the driving force behind what we do.

But as technology and material technology and manufacturing technology advances we’ll just be incorporating and making use of these new technologies, but always coming back to solving problems for athletes.”

Does technology make the job easier, harder, or more fun? (9:07):

“Probably all of the above, quite honestly. At any given moment, it might be more of a challenge, but it creates more opportunities and any challenge is ultimately exciting. It’s a problem to solve and I think that inspires a lot of designers and engineers.”