Back in October of 2016, the Swoosh announced the Nike Ease Challenge, an open contest that invited designers and engineers to submit a new sneaker solution for athletes of all abilities. In considering the submissions, Nike weighed factors like ease-of-use for athletes of all abilities, performance, and the potential to expand across various sizes and styles. Ultimately, three finalists were invited to Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, OR on April 10, where they presented their solution to a panel of judges that included Nike Chairman and CEO Mark Parker and inventor of Nike FlyEase, Tobie Hatfield.
After deliberations, Brett Drake, an architectural engineer from Cheyenne, Wyoming, was announced as the winner of the Nike Ease Challenge. His winning submission was a 2016 Nike Hyperdunk, re-engineered with a rear entry system that uses powerful, lightweight magnets to transform the heel counter into a "drawbridge," opening up to reveal a simple, wide entry and exit area.
Brett received $50,000 for his first-prize design, and he'll collaborate with Nike in the prototyping phase of his shoe.