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Nike Software Turns Runners' Footsteps Into Loopy, Swooshy Paintings

To promote a new collection of shoes, Nike records runners' paths, then converts them into art prints.

Running is already a thing of beauty, as anyone who's watched Prefontaine float sublimely past a finish line will tell you. Here to push the sport even further into the realm of fine art is Nike, which commissioned a project recently that lets runners paint with their most cherished asset: their feet.

Nike tapped YesYesNo, an interactive design collective with offices in the U.S. and the Netherlands, to custom-design software that takes runners' routes — recorded using Nike + GPS — and turns them into abstract paintings. The project was a two-day workshop to promote the NIKE FREE Run+ 2 QS City Pack shoe line.

The designers used openFrameworks to develop a program that converts runners' movements into elegant, sensuous brushstrokes based on not just where they ran, but how they ran — how fast they went, where they sped up and slowed down, and what their "unique style" (to quote YesYesNo's website) looked like. Each runner then got a high-res print of his run and a pair of shoes, complete with the running path laser-etched on the box.


[One of the laser-etched shoe boxes]

No word on whether Nike will make the software available to the public. But here's hoping they do. It's certainly a nicer way to commemorate an arduous run than some other, um, souvenirs we've seen lately.

[Images via]

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