Camper officially launched its shoe company in Spain in 1975, but its shoe-making DNA goes back over a century: The company’s founder is the grandson of a Spanish cobbler. When Camper first opened, it took that foundation in traditional cobbling to a new level and touted a different kind of shoe, one that was lightweight and had punchy graphics. That design philosophy continues to prevail today and Camper’s marquee designs–the Vela, the Peu, and the Beetle–have remained consistently sporty over the years. As a result, the brand boasts a loyal following of die-hard Camper wearers.
To wit, Oki Sato, chief designer at Japanese design house Nendo, has been wearing Campers for a decade. Nendo cranks out products at an extraordinary rate (we’ve very recently covered their Winnie the Pooh-inspired furniture for Disney, as well as their spiraled take on the ancient chopstick). They usually produce original pieces, but because Sato is a Camper fan, he’s happily relinquished some control over the design process to collaborate with the shoe brand. Last May, Nendo designed the interiors of a New York concept store for Camper, by decking the walls with white resin molds of Camper shoes. And now, they’ve taken a stab at the very shoes that Sato has sported for years: the Beetle.
Nendo’s version of the Beetle takes the trademark Camper elastic laces and plays up the stretchy straps by weaving them in and out of the shoe’s upper. The cross-hatched pattern echoes Nike’s Flywire technology, which weaves cables into the shoe to simultaneously create more flexible fit and shave off weight. Nendo achieved the same results here, and even added waterproofing–infusing the famously efficient shoe with even more function than before.