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  • 04.26.11

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.

Nike Software Turns Runners’ Footsteps Into Loopy, Swooshy Paintings

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.

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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.

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Shoe-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 CreativeApplications.net]

About the author

Suzanne LaBarre is the editor of Co.Design. Previously, she was the online content director of Popular Science and has written for the New York Times, the New York Observer, Newsday, I.D.

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