interview & photography_Steve Mullholand
To help celebrate the 15th anniversary of the heralded Sony PlayStation franchise and launch two of the company's newest campaigns in the Killzone 3 game and PlayStation Move Motion Controller, Ron Eagle knew a familiar path to head down.
As Director of Product Publicity at Sony, Eagle also happens to be a huge sneaker collector, and he's worked with Nike for years to kick off new campaigns with the help of some of the footwear industry's most coveted collectibles. With the PlayStation x Nike Air Force 1, PlayStation x Nike Air Max 90/ 360 Hybrid and PlayStation x Nike Air Trainer 1 already under his belt, Ron Eagle and his close friends at Nike Training got together to head down a new road.
They've teamed up for the first-ever two shoe Nike x Sony PlayStation Pack, including both the "Move" Zoom Huarache Trainer and "Killzone" Special Forces Boot in an exclusive set made available to friends and family.
Sole Collector's Steve Mullholand got a first look at the Nike Training x Sony PlayStation Move Pack and caught up with Ron Eagle to break down the project's starting point, details and the inspiration behind each shoe.
Enjoy a read through their conversation below, as well as a detailed look at each of the two shoes included in the pack.
For more info on the Sony PlayStation Move Motion Controller: http://us.playstation.com/ps3/playstation-move/
For more info on PlayStation's Killzone 3: http://www.killzone.com/kz3/agegate.html
Steve Mullholand: Can you talk about the design behind the first thing people will see -- the box. Where did the graphic come from?
Ron Eagle: Brian Kappel over at Green Demon / Gallagher Designs came up with the box concept and design. There are two different packages. For select athletes and celebrities, the box is even larger and designed to hold a custom PS3, Move Controller and Camera as well as the two pairs of shoes. As you can imagine, this will be incredibly limited and very cool for the folks getting it. The main box is the two shoe package. It is designed to hold both the Huarache Trainer and Special Forces Boot in an inner box. The outer box was designed to tell you the story of what is inside and what inspired the shoes. The main image comes from Killzone 3 and its iconic character the Helghast. You will also find a logo design for our 15 year anniversary on the back along with logos from Nike, PlayStation and PlayStation Move.
What inspired the Zoom Huarache Trainer?
It started with the first conversation on doing the project. Kris Aman (VP, Nike Global Category Athletic Training), Brian Mitchell (Developer, Nike Training), Chris Wright and I got on the phone and started talking about the general scope of the project and what we wanted to accomplish and how it lined up with our calendars. Shooting to have it around our 15 year anniversary and Move launch in the fall seemed like the sweet spot.
The blue usage is a two way play. The Move logo is that blue color and the PlayStation Move Huarache design elements were derived from the Move controller. Brian Mitchell came up with the overall design concept of using the black base from the handle of the controller; the clear sole from the sphere on top of the controller; the multiple color elements like the sole, gradient, insole and laces help to show the virtually limitless color combinations possible within the sphere on top of the controller. As I mentioned, the blue also had a second purpose, as I wanted to pay homage to the original PlayStation AF1s and work that gradient pattern into the design as well.
Can you describe the graphic along the upper?
It's a tonal graphic from the 15 year anniversary logo and one of those details that I think make the PlayStation / Nike collaborations so special and so different. A really cool discovery element that Kappel and Mitchell I believe worked on together. The leather is so soft and supple as well, when I first saw the pattern, I kept trying to see if I could rub it off or if it had texture - don't know how they did it, but it's those details that make the whole package so unique.
The Swoosh on the Trainers – it's irridescent and similar to the PS 360 kicks?
Yes, probably more similar to the PS Air Trainer 1s. Brian told me he had a surprise or two for me on the shoe and this is one of them. The material has gotten better since the 360s and the amount of color change in different lighting and angles is very nice looking.
For the Special Forces Boot, what inspired the materials, colorway and graphics?
The graphics used on the boots all come from the Killzone universe. The Helghast language across the top of the boot is taken directly from the game. As are the Helghast images on the ankles, insole and tongue. For those not familiar with the franchise, the Helghast are essentially seen as the bad guys and the glowing red eyes are very symbolic for the franchise.
It looks like a pretty unique graphic application on the boots – is this a first?
I believe it is, Brian Mitchell and I were discussing the elements of the boot and we kept talking about how to incorporate those glowing eyes. He said he had a couple ideas on how to make it work, and we went from drawings to samples to what you see here. This has to be seen in person. Brian managed to get that graphic to pop with an application that actually changes colors based on light and angle from yellow / orange to the dark red - so very cool. It really is nice when you are working with folks that not only have a creative vision and a shared need to do something that hasn't been done, but also these guys understand the games and enjoy playing them, so they have a sense going in on what moments, details and elements will help create the stories told by the shoes that they create.
Overall, what were you trying to say by including both shoes within this pack? Are there any good stories about the design process this time around?
That first phone conversation in early summer was the real tone setter. Kris and Brian asked specific questions about what was significant for us in the coming year and what and where we could provide energy for both brands. Who and what is the intended audience? That type of thing. We talked about a lot of things, but the elements that made the most sense was the upcoming Move launch, which is out now, our 15 year anniversary and their bringing the new Huarache Trainer to market around the same time.
If I remember correctly, this was the point where I tried to throw a wrench in the whole process and asked what they thought about doing a two shoe pack and adding another element to the overall package. Thankfully, there wasn't that dreaded, "Hello...you guys still there...?" moment on the other side. (laughs) In fact, Kris asked me what I was thinking about and we continued to talk about the concept and what would be really different. We wanted this one to be more subtle, no overt PlayStation branding and something that no one would see coming. We talked about materials before we landed on a specific shoe. I mentioned that I had bought a really cool strap for my Panerai made from vintage WWII leather - it actually came from a pistol holster and has these aged details and patina that make the material interesting to look at. I asked if something like that was possible and while that type of leather wasn't practical, it lead to more discussion on what I was thinking about in terms of highlighting one of our products.
I told them that I was thinking about Killzone -- it has great iconography for us to work off of and more importantly it ties nicely to the overall Move theme as Killzone 3 will support Move control and be out later this year. Kris picked up on it immediately and asked if I was familiar with their Special Forces Boot? I wasn't at the time, but they took me through the boot, how it had come to life and who used the boots. It was a great choice as no one would think that we were going to be doing something like this, but it gave us a great base to work with. It's just another great example of the folks at Nike getting it and why it's such a good experience working with Kris and his entire team. We had some pretty over the top conversations on what could be on the boot and both Brian and Kris had to remind me that I had said subtle in the beginning! [laughs]
The design that Brian came up with really is that, if you put these boots on with a pair of jeans you will not see anything from a branding standpoint. The leather used has that worn-in look and with the exception of a bit of the heel stitching and the outsole, no one would know that you are wearing a boot that has some really unique elements built into it. The part that really makes Brian's design cool for me is that the overall thought was that each element comes directly from the Killzone universe. That worn-in leather was chosen because the world in which the game takes place is hostile and not the type of place you would would find spit-shined patent leather. The outsole was made to look like you have walked through those combat environments with dust and debris. Even the colors and material for the eyelets and lace tips were taken into account. It's so highly detailed, the guys up in Portland just don't miss a thing and I really hope that the folks that see them can see the amount of work and attention to detail put into the whole package -- it tells a complete story and really is another example of two different brands bringing out the elements from each that make both brands so relevant to pop culture. I just couldn't imagine doing it with anyone else.
You know this was coming, but have to ask, where do you rank this package compared to the previous collabs you have done with Nike?
Ha! That is like asking a parent to pick a favorite child. I will say this, I think these tell a complete and compelling story and I love the choice of shoes, material and always pushing to bring something new and different to the table. It's something both companies are known for and expressed here in a very unique way.
Anything else you want our readers to know?
These Huaraches are so light and comfortable, I'm going to run out and buy a couple of the GR colorways to beat up. Also, with the Special Forces Boot, I didn't know Nike actually made something like that, so I asked a couple friends in the military about them - and they use them in the field - the field for these guys are some really "interesting" places to be right now.