How To Make It: When did the design process start for the Nike Roshe Run?
Dylan Raasch: The design process for the Roshe started back in the fall of 2010. I was asked to bring ideas to a Nike Sportswear Fall 11 seasonal brainstorm session, which focused on ways of bringing value to a lower price point. I was the only designer in a group of merchandisers, marketing and sales people, and when I presented the concept behind the Roshe the room was crickets. Apparently the idea was too abstract at that point, but I knew there was something there, so I decided to develop the design in my free time.
How To Make It: What’s the inspiration and concept behind the shoe?
Dylan: Since I was young I have practiced meditation, so the concept of Zen and simplicity plays a big part in my life. The inspiration and name comes directly from the word “Roshi,” which is a title given to a Zen master. And to me, nothing really epitomizes simplicity better than a Zen master. For legal reasons, we had to change the “i” to an “e,” but it is still pronounced the same so it worked for me.
From there, I designed the shoe to be as simple as possible by keeping only what was absolutely necessary. For a running silhouette, it turns out you don’t need much: quarter support, heel support and some cushioning. Once the unnecessary elements were removed, it was an exercise of sculpting and refinement. I pictured the Zen master meditating in his Zen garden and used the shapes and color for inspiration…
Apart from the details, I wanted the shoe to be as versatile as possible, so I designed it so it could be worn barefoot or with socks. You could dress up or down in it, travel with it, walk or run in it, chill in it, almost anything. I felt the simpler I could make it, the more profound it would become.
Read the full interview at How To Make It.