words & images // 4Cent Design
4Cent Friday is a weekly design blog on SoleCollector.com written by a member of the 4Cent Design team. Subjects may range from discussing rendering skills to design inspirations, to thoughts and opinions on the state of footwear design as a whole. For more background on 4Cent Design, check our interview here.
After starting out from a simple suggestion thrown out by a Twitter follower, 4Cent Design kicked off a five-week endeavor looking to create an ideal boxing shoe designed for and inspired by the exact needs and tastes of Floyd Mayweather.
Follow along for a full step-by-step recap of the Mayweather Project below, along with 4Cent designer Austin's final polished rendering.
STAGE ONE // INITIAL RESEARCH
words & images // Brian Moughty
For the next few 4Cent Fridays, we are going to switch things up a bit. We want to give the readers a sample of a more complete project concept and how us five individuals work together. Starting with this entry, you’ll see us build a design from research and inspiration, to thumbnails, to revisions and a final design.
A couple of days ago on Twitter, we posed the simple question: “Who deserves a signature sneaker outside of basketball?” After looking at the responses, I chose one from @emmanuelabor, who suggested boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. I thought this would be a good challenge since it was really uncharted territory for us and an original idea. So, let’s pretend 4cent Design has been hired to create a training shoe for world champion boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr.
The first step is to look at the different trainers on the market. Most are just meant for general all-around training, but I want our team to create a more boxing oriented shoe. The goal is to create a shoe that would allow Mayweather to go from running, to jump roping to drills in the actual ring. This means a shoe that can support the rigors of a variety of drills, but also a shoe that won’t be a hazard.
After looking at the main needs of the shoe, it is important to look at the actual athlete and what will make the shoe special for Floyd Mayweather, and what will separate the shoe from others on the market. Personal details are what can really bring a shoe to life, and the goal is to look for reasoning behind everything you do to the shoe.
Like I said earlier, this is new territory, and I don’t know too much about Mayweather, so a little more research is required.
Some basic things to know:
- Nickname: “Pretty Boy”
- 9 World titles in 5 different weight classes
- 41-0, with 25 KO’s
- Boxing in the Family
- Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan
You can then dig more into his personal life with stories like the fact that Mayweather was on “Dancing with the Stars.” Connections can be made here with the fact that is often said that a boxer “dances.” It is always fun to find different ways to connect certain stories and how to apply them to footwear, and many times it can result in a very interesting twist. Another popular point of inspiration in footwear design is to look at different fashion tastes of the athletes or cars they may own. (Apparently, Mayweather has a lot of cars with personalized touches). Other items that could also inspire details for the shoe are championship belts, the way his hands are wrapped, the look of his gloves, or maybe even the trim on his shorts.
For the rest of the 4Cent crew, this is also the first time they’re learning about the project, to keep it on a schedule and incorporate some deadline pressure. They’ll have limited time to react to each 4Cent Friday, to execute the next step in the project. Of course, further research and inspiration can also be found along the way, but this is a good starting point. Individuals will also have to look closer at the movements and needs of a boxer when training. Stay tuned for next week, as Matt will deliver some thumbnail sketches based on my initial findings, to begin to bring the 4Cent Mayweather concept sneaker to life.
STAGE TWO // PRELIMINARY SKETCHES
words & images // Matt DeAlmeida
I read about this project the same time you all did last week. I saw Brian's research and tried to twist it into something I could digest and work with. Seeing that Floyd Mayweather Jr. likes fancy cars and lives a flashy lifestyle is not something that sets him apart from other professional athletes. I looked into Floyd's fighting style instead. He prances around the ring defensively in a tactical manner, all the while waiting for his opponent to fall into an awkward position while trying to throw a punch. Then Floyd unleashes a flurry of punches of his own.
Mayweather maintains a very high percentage of punches landed in all of his fights. His patience and strategy sets up his explosive big time punches. I really wanted that to be integrated into the shoe. I brought it back to him by connecting his patience and work ethic from his roots by adding subtle cues from his life and where he grew up. Mayweather is an entertainer and great promoter. He would be a great person to have push some more extreme ideas for a brand. I kept thinking of how Floyd's flurry of attack punches were like sparks flying. Still thinking about his cars, I thought about the way sparks fly when cars are going at high speeds and trading paint. It fit in with the story I wanted to tell.
This set of sketches was just a simple start to get thinking. Going into sketching with the mindset above, I started with very aggressive straight lines, then moved on to something relaxed that transitioned into very explosive shapes. I wanted the upper to be light and breathable so I played around with different welding ideas. (Welding is melting a thin plastic / tpu layer to a textile base.) Still looking to involve the sparks, I went with a different approach by having them sublimated onto the upper at the same time the tpu is welded. Sublimation is similar to screen printing but the ink is heated into the textile's fibers. Usually sublimation is costly but having it done at the same time as the welding wold keep costs down.
This first round of sketches simply represents some early thoughts and ideas. This is just the start. Be sure to check back in next week as another member of 4Cent will take this project even further!
STAGE THREE // EVOLVED SKETCHES
words & images // Ethan Dean
After seeing Matt’s initial ideas in last week's 4 Cent Friday post, I took some visual cues from Matt’s sketches, such as the dynamic lines inspired by Mayweather’s fighting style and showman personality. I messed around with both mid and low ideas, and on a few sketches I played around with the idea of an ankle brace and a strap across the forefoot. I also included a kind of architectural form on the side that may provide for extra support and a more secure fit.
On a few midsoles, I played around with the idea of an outrigger in the forefoot to help brace Mayweather on lateral cuts. I was looking for long powerful gesture lines cutting through the shoe, alluding to the lines you would see on any one of his cars.
All the while, I was thinking of materials. They need to be durable and have the ability to withstand sweat, abrasion, wear and tear. On the majority of the sketches, I was thinking of a leather or suede material in the uppers, with some mesh accents. The outsoles would be rubber.
Enjoy a look below at several sketches inspired by Floyd Mayweather's style that is an evolution of Matt's initial thumbnail sketchwork and Brian's initial research. Next week we’ll continue the process by finalizing a design.
STAGE FOUR // FINAL CONCEPT
words & images // Ben Adams-Keane
After checking out Matt and Ethan's sketches, I started looking for design cues to carry over into the final concept. I really liked the way both Matt and Ethan represented Mayweather's fighting style through the lines on the shoe. The abrupt change from stagnant to aggressive lines was a cool touch.
I also liked the welded support stripes Matt was playing around with, and I thought Ethan's lateral support structure could be a good base for the quarter. With these design cues in mind, I started roughing out revisions in my sketchbook. Check out the assortment to the right.
On top of Matt and Ethan's ideas, I explored a few of my own. I thought it would be cool to include a wingtip inspired forefoot as a callout to Mayweather's casual persona. I also included a subtle reference to Mayweather's boxing accomplishments, with an FM>25 (Mayweather's number of wins by knockout) detail around the circular ankle bubble with an FM radio-dial look in mind.
The final design I chose is a combination of rounded, casual lines and sharper, more aggressive ones. For lateral stability, I included the welded support stripes on both the forefoot and ankle, and put the support structure around the heel and ankle. I used a high-rising inner sock for comfort, and peeked it through the heel for breathability.
STAGE FIVE // FINAL RENDERING
words & images // Austin Jermacans
After following along as my fellow 4Cent members worked away at each stage of the Mayweather Project, we've finally reached the final stage and the project's final rendering.
Each colorway of the boxing boot was inspired by one of Mayweather's vehicles, including his red Ferrari f430, yellow Lamborghini and white Rolls Royce Phantom. The upper perf design was inspired by the five bolts you'll commonly see on rims, while the chrome 'Mayweather' tag along the tongue was inspired by the fact that his own cars each feature his last name plated on the rear.
Take a look below at the final stage of the Mayweather Project, and let us know what you think!