New shoe concepts don’t come around very often, but when they do it’s often advances in technology and manufacturing that make things possible. Nike’s new GO FlyEase series promises a leap forward in the way you slip on your shoes, not just improving day-to-day convenience, but also improving accessibility.

Overseen by a team of designers, led by Nike’s vice president NXT Footwear, Kathy Gomez, the GO FlyEase is the latest tech-driven solution from the company. Gomez has spent 25 years at Nike and is the brains behind the cushioning platforms that have given the Air range such a competitive edge. GO FlyEase is the latest innovation from the brand, with a ‘hinged’ mechanism that does away with conventional fastenings and a layered, architectural look. We spoke to Gomez about the challenges of the design.

Wallpaper*: Was it a challenge minimising the number of moving parts?

Kathy Gomez: While Nike GO FlyEase, like all Nike innovations, evolved throughout the development process, it never had excess parts so I wouldn’t characterize that as having been a challenge. Designing a shoe that would be completely hands-free was the ultimate challenge and inspiration behind Nike GO FlyEase.

W*: What are the technical requirements of the central hinge? How was it tested?

KG: The most important requirement of the hinge was that it needed to be bi-stable; stable in its open position and stable in its closed position. The shoe was extensively tested, both on foot and mechanically.

W*: With the Nike GO FlyEase, you’ve gone for a very bold set of colour combinations. The palette is similar to what we find in high-end consumer technology - like Apple, for example. How are palettes created and what role does colour play in revealing the function of the shoe?

KG: The colour combinations for Nike GO FlyEase are unlimited and certainly help tell the story and accentuate its features. The initial launch colourways are vibrant and playful, while also calling the eye to elements like the bi-stable hinge and ’kickstand’ heel. We obsess about colour design as an integral part of the whole product expression.

Nike GO FlyEase trainers
An innovative hinged mechanism allows the Nike GO FlyEase trainers to be slipped on hands-free

W*: Can you tell us more about the development and application of the transparent material on the upper?

KG: The upper material was selected from our existing stable of materials. While it is not a new innovation, it perhaps stands out a bit more in the absence of conventional laces.

W*: What role does sustainability play in a new shoe like this?

KG: Sustainability is a priority at Nike and part of our design process. With this particular shoe, we were mindful not to default to metals or magnets in operating the hinge and used only traditional footwear materials.

W*: How much of this shoe is recycled and how much can be recycled?

KG: Every material leveraged for this shoe is from our existing stable of footwear materials in an effort to ensure the shoe can ultimately be integrated into [our circular materials initiative] Nike Grind at the end of its wear cycle. §