Roshe Two – Interview With Nike Designer Dylan Raasch | Grailify
Roshe Two – Interview With Nike Designer Dylan Raasch

Roshe Two – Interview With Nike Designer Dylan Raasch

Alongside the ever-popular Nike Free, the Roshe is considered one of the most comfortable shoes there is. With its successor, the "Two", Nike has tried to raise the bar once again. We asked Nike designer Dylan Raasch about the changes. He not only gave us an exclusive insight, but also coined a new word - "cushion effect".

When you look at a shoe, what things do you think make it comfortable?
Okay. Yes, I think there are three of them. One is the comfort underfoot. That's the obvious one, the insole and the outsole. The second is the upper comfort. That might be pretty obvious, but we want to understand how the footwear interacts with the upper part of your foot. And the third area is the newest one we're looking at, which is all-day comfort.

Can you break that down for us?
For underfoot comfort, insoles were originally used to cover the seams on the bottom of the shoe. Today, they are the first layer of a cushioning system.

So in the past, the shoe - the Roshe One - only had an IU or Phylon insole. But now we're going to use more dual-density memory foam. That means that at first you think, "Wow, this is super comfortable". But then we want to make sure it doesn't wear out, to be comfortable all day.

Then we explore the outsole. That's a big story for the shoe, of course. Originally it was based on a soft IU concept, how can we improve that? Actually, it's about making it more dynamic.

A lot of people say Nike Free and think they're super comfortable, but it's actually the flexibility of the shoe that people associate with comfort. Flexibility is not always synonymous with comfort. It's much more complicated than that. We want to gut the outsole and give each sole its own ability to move dynamically. Combine that with the triple density foam and the insole and you get maximum comfort underfoot.

And then the upper, I mean that's another point that's pretty obvious. But we've found that people are very drawn to a sock-like fit. There were some iconic shoes, like the Sock Racer and the Sock Dart, that already had that kind of fit. We wanted to figure out how to incorporate that idea into the original Roshe One. So for the Roshe Two, we created a one-piece shoe that hugs the foot, is very dynamic and adapts to the shape of the foot. And then we added the foam padding to sort of create a cushioned sock. So there is a certain amount of "cushioning".

That's a good way to describe it, "padding". Yeah, okay, great. So underfoot, upper comfort. Now all-day comfort?
Yeah, and then all-day comfort. It's more of a total package of those two things. We looked at how the feet grow when you're on your feet all day. Add to that the temperature fluctuations your feet are exposed to as they get warmer. The result is a shoe that offers breathability and stretch. It adapts to your foot as it grows throughout the day.

Yes, so things like the innovation of the upper really contribute to all-day comfort because it provides a kind of "cushion effect" around your foot, no matter how much you move, whether you're standing or not?
It supports you like a glove holds your hand and reduces swelling in certain sports situations. Our footwear should basically be an adaptive glove for your feet.

How do you and your team assess comfort, apart from the wear tests? So you have innovated in these three areas. Then you ask yourselves, "Okay, how can we judge if we have been successful?"
Of course we do the wear tests, that's direct feedback. I mean, apart from wearing the shoe... we use science and technology to find out how it will react. Basically, through the architecture of the outsole, our findings from the NSRL and years of Nike shoe innovation, we know how the foot and our innovations will react. These pronounced waffles on the outsole act like a piston and provide more impact resistance. So when you do those things and then add an appropriate amount of "softness", it's basically a science.

Yes. I think in your career as a shoe designer so far, has your view of comfort changed?
Well, I think it goes back to the idea of all-day comfort, because in the beginning it was always, "Wow, this shoe is comfortable." And then you go out and walk around New York City for eight hours, and then you think, "Oh, it's not that comfortable anymore." The idea that our customers run a marathon every week is now being put to the test: Will the shoe stand up to the test of running that many miles in the city? I think we look at the big picture.
It's kind of an adjustment for your whole team and for everybody to think longevity over the immediate "Oh, how does it feel on my foot now?"
Yeah, because I think everyone thinks that way at first - you know, you're in the shop, you put the shoe on and your first reaction is the measure of how happy your feet are going to be. It's not just about comfort, it's much more complicated than that. We strive for a perfect balance between stability, support and cushioning. If your feet feel good after a hard day, we've done our job.

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