Complex's VP creates a futuristic version of his beloved beaters.
Written by Brendan Frederick (@bfred)
Almost exactly three years ago, I had my first experience designing sneakers on NIKEiD. It was a childhood dream come true: my father works in the footwear industry, and as a kid, I spent countless hours at his office making sketches of my own futuristic kicks. I became a magazine editor when I grew up instead of following in dad’s footsteps, so I never had the chance to bring my own designs to life. That is, until I finally decided to try my hand at designing a pair of my all-time favorite Air Max 90s on the NIKEiD site in 2010.
The result still looks pretty fresh today, even in their beat-up state: the pink, white, grey, and black color scheme was an obvious nod to the ever-popular Infrareds, while the greenish Robin’s Egg laces and interior gave it a classy pastel twist. The detail people most often comment on is the heel iD, which reads “TKTKTKTK,” a geeky reference to the mark editors use as a placeholder for a missing piece of information when constructing an article. The “TK” 90s became my go-to kicks, enduring years of wear and tear on the NYC streets. But despite my best efforts to keep that white gleaming, they have finally become too soiled to stunt in.
So when I visited the NIKEiD site this week to create an updated version of my beloved kicks, the first design decision was an easy one. I wanted to switch the base color from white to black, so I wouldn’t have to carry around a toothbrush and be so vigilant about keeping them pristine clean. Aside from this, my plan was to maintain the essence of the original kicks by using the same five basic colors—pink, green, white, black, grey—in my new design. And of course, the “TK” heel iD would remain the same (or close enough—NIKEiD now limits the heel iD on Air Max 90s to six characters instead of the more unwieldy eight).
With my basic design parameters in place, I was eager to explore the new colors and materials available on NIKEiD. The first thing that struck me was the amazingly vibrant Electric Green color, a perfect replacement for the Robin’s Egg from the original design. I gave the Electric Green prominent placement on the laces, heel iD, midsole wedge, and translucent outsole, and used the pink Hot Punch color as an eye-catching accent on the mudguard window and upper eyestay. To bring in the white and grey from the original design, I added a Swoosh in white anodized leather, and a backtab in Metallic Silver.
The result feels like a badass, futuristic version of my classic kicks. And they’re not too dissimilar from the sneakers I was designing as a kid—minus the hoverboard outsoles and self-lacing technology. Hopefully NIKEiD adds those options soon.