Space-Age Sneaker Design

Virtual reality and haptics will be part of Nike’s futuristic footwear design toolbox.


Want a snapshot into how footwear design is going to look in the not too distant future? Nike and Dell recently teamed up to show the world how the footwear giant plans to leverage technology as part of its next-generation design strategy.

The partners brought in Meta, which makes augmented reality systems, and Ultrahaptics, which provides users with haptic feedback, to explore a vision for how footwear designers will work their magic moving forward, according to an article on Along with Dell Canvas, which is an interactive pen and totem display, the partners harnessed some serious high-tech wizardry, including VR, augmented reality capabilities, voice control, and haptic tools (used to create a sense of touch) to put together an environment that lets Nike shoe designers get to styling in a much more natural, compelling way, the HighSnobiety article said.

While the sneakers are being created in the virtual world, the haptic capabilities let the designers “feel” the sneakers as they come to life. In addition, the AR capabilities, coupled with a dose of simulation, serve to mimic real-world conditions, providing context to designers to see how their proposed gear will perform and hold up once in use.

Looks scarily like the Minority Report of shoe design.

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