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Design 50

As Young Athletes, Nike’s Top Brass Hacked Their Own Shoes

For the visionaries steering Nike, shoe design began with ripping apart their kicks.


[Photo by David Black]

Onstage at our Innovation By Design Conference last week, Nike’s CEO, Mark Parker, and lead designer, John Hoke, each divulged a surprising shared history.

Long before either came to Nike, or the maker movement was a thing, both began sketching and prototyping footwear on their own. In college, Parker hacked his own shoes to help him run better. And Hoke was just 12 years old when he sent his first sketches to Nike (and not to spoil the story, but things seem to have worked out for him).

See the winners of our Innovation By Design Awards here, and more highlights from the conference here.

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