While not as well known as Laika, Russian space dog Zvyozdochka nonetheless paved the way for manned space exploration when her orbital flight reaffirmed the viability for Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s historical journey as the first man in space. The same notion could be applied to the Nike ZVEZDOCHKA, a collaboration between the sportswear giant and industrial designer Marc Newson. First launched in 2004 (with a subsequent re-release in 2010), the iconic footwear will be making a return this month for its 10th anniversary.
One of the first mass produced sports footwear with a modular design, the Nike ZVEZDOCHKA was also the first to be completely modeled on a computer. To be as form-fitting as possible, the collaborators devised on a sock-like innersleeve with an outer perforated cage, interlocking outsole and insole. Made to be fully adoptable, wearer could also alter the combination to however he or she wishes.
A precursor to many Nike designs we’re familiar with today as well as the Nike Considered sustainable manufacturing process, the Marc Newson x Nike ZVEZDOCHKA will be available in its original five colorways starting on Monday, December 29th, at nike.com/nikelab online store and all NikeLab retail locations worldwide. See below as both Newson and then designer, now Nike CEO Mark Parker reflect on the significances of Nike ZVEZDOCHKA.
Release Date: 12/29/2014 (Monday)
The ZVEZDOCHKA represented an entirely new method of shoe construction. It challenged convention. Why is upending the status quo important in design?
"Sometimes you need to disrupt and create new models to affect meaningful change. We could not make the ZVEZDOCHKA with traditional cut-and-sew methods of making footwear. But we also didn’t anticipate the original idea would take us in that direction. Sometimes it’s about asking the right questions in the right moment with the right tools in hand.
"I like to think there’s always a balance. You don’t always have to start over to create an emotional reaction to your product. It’s always powerful to deliver a breakthrough, but there’s also a true art to making something great even better."
"For me as a designer, it is vital always to push boundaries — to look to the future and think about how things will be. Otherwise you are irrelevant. For me, design is always about exploring possibilities with new technologies, processes and materials. Often cross-pollinating between industries."
How will the ZVEZDOCHKA continue to influence design, be it at Nike or elsewhere, moving forward?
"The principles of the ZVEZDOCHKA have the power to unlock many exciting opportunities at Nike – from customization and modularity to sustainability and manufacturing.
"Design is an iterative process. One idea often builds on another. Looking ahead, I’m energized thinking of the opportunities provided by customization and modularity. Of course, in terms of sustainable design, the ZVEZDOCHKA’s influence will continue to be deeply felt. The shoe removed constraints for a sustainable future. This will always be a goal of ours."
"In general terms, the influence has been and will continue to be more about approaching design problems from a different standpoint. In this case, a piece of footwear being seen as a product rather than a garment, both in practical and philosophical terms."