Who is eligible to participate in the Nike Ease Challenge? Do I need to be a footwear designer?
Nike is looking for all designers, engineers, makers and innovators – regardless of background – who have a passion for innovation and the desire to remove barriers for athletes of all abilities. Review the Terms & Conditions for complete details on eligibility.
Nike contractors, Nike sponsored athletes, and their family members are prohibited from participating. Nike employees who are legal residents of the United States and presently residing in the U.S. are eligible to participate. Participants must be at least 18 years or older. Nike employees are not eligible for the $50,000 cash award, and will not be competing directly with participants. Nike employees should refer to internal communications for more information and to review Terms & Conditions.
What am I required to submit to be eligible?
To be considered and for Nike to fully understand your idea, you must provide both a written and visual description of your design in action.
WRITTEN: Written descriptions will be captured in the submission form. Detail on how the design works and what problem it solves, as well as the inspiration for participating in the Nike Ease Challenge should be included.
VISUAL: Visual elements should be attached to the submission in the form of a PDF file (up to 10 MB) and/or video clip (up to 20 seconds) and demonstrate a foot going in, being secured, and exiting a shoe from multiple angles. Nike only wants to see the technology in use. Use only the time necessary; a full 20 seconds of film is not required.
Additional materials may be submitted to provide more information about your design and supporting evidence (up to 10 MB). Attachments accepted: .pdf, .xls, .xlsx, .doc, docx, ppt, or .pptx
Submission of graphics in a PDF file or a video is required in order to be considered. Both may be submitted. All submissions must be completed by 8:00 PM EST on December 15, 2016.
Click here to view the response form questions.
How is Nike evaluating submissions?
Nike is seeking new, innovative footwear solutions that are more hands-free and improve ease-of-use for athletes of all abilities, including those with limited dexterity. Solutions should be functional, designed for performance, and enable people to more easily put on, secure and take off their shoes.
Successful technologies will be:
- Optimized for an easy entry, closure and exit of a shoe
- Engineered for high performance and fit
- Transferrable across a wide range of shoe sizes and styles
- Viable solutions ready for prototyping
The following approaches are of less interest:
- Submissions that rely on powered systems or a non-integral tool or device
- Submissions that rely on traditional zipper technologies
Why should I participate in the Nike Ease Challenge?
Inspiration comes in many forms. You may have a personal reason to participate, or simply want to share an innovative idea. Design and innovation at Nike exists to serve the athlete – whether you’re competing at the highest levels or putting on your sneakers unassisted for the first time. The Nike Ease Challenge aims to accelerate Nike’s constant pursuit of making the seemingly impossible possible for athletes of all abilities.
By participating in the Nike Ease Challenge, you have the potential to travel to Nike World Headquarters and meet with some of the top innovators, executives, and athletes in the world. Three finalists will be selected by the end of March 2017, and invited to Nike World Headquarters to present their design to a panel of Nike leaders and athletes. The winning innovation will receive a $50,000 cash award, with the possibility to collaborate with leading Nike designers.
When is the submission deadline?
Participants must complete their submission, including the online response form, by December 15, 2016. Nike reserves the right to consider only the first 500 qualified submissions. All submissions will serve as the participant’s first and final proposal and should include information and supporting data as required in the response form. Up to fifteen innovators will be invited to advance to the semifinals (Phase 2).
Why is Nike holding this challenge?
Nike’s mission is to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* (*If you have a body you are an athlete). The Nike Ease Challenge embodies that mission by calling on a larger community of innovators who share Nike’s commitment to elevate athletes of all abilities.
Design and innovation at Nike centers on the athlete – from those competing at the highest levels to those putting on their sneakers unassisted for the first time. Nike has a long history of innovation that redefines the conventional mode of lacing and entry systems – including Nike HyperAdapt 1.0, Nike FLYEASE, Nike Air Rift, Nike Sock Dart and more. The Nike Ease Challenge aims to build upon the advancements of those innovations and make the seemingly impossible possible for all athletes.
How advanced do ideas need to be at time of submission? Is a prototype required?
Prototypes are not required at the time of submission. Your design, however, should be advanced enough to successfully meet all submission criteria and eventually capable of being prototyped. Those invited to advance to Phase 2 will be required to deliver a prototype to Nike. Invitations for Phase 2 will be sent in January 2017.
What is the best way to present my solution for the initial submission?
To be considered and for Nike to fully understand your idea, you must provide both a written and visual description of your design in action. However, there are no restrictions on design software. Participants are also permitted to sketch concepts by hand or other mediums – such as painting, drawing, 2D or 3D renderings, etc. – as long as you demonstrate the previously outlined criteria. Again, all graphics must be sent in a single PDF file.
Can we apply our design to an existing Nike shoe or do we have to come up with our own?
Yes. You can apply your design to an existing model or build your own shoe. However, if invited to submit a prototype for Phase 2 you will be required to prototype into a Nike shoe.
If I’m invited to prototype (Phase 2), am I required to create my own prototype? Will Nike provide prototype support, such as supplies, machinery, lab resources, etc.?
You are required to create your own prototype. Nike will provide each of the 15 semifinalists invited to prototype with components of a Nike shoe in order to complete their prototype.
I have no formal education in design. Can I still apply?
Yes. We are looking for new, unique perspectives – regardless of a person’s background or education.
Is Nike seeking more technology over design?
Yes. For this challenge, Nike’s focus is on the technology. Successful submissions will meet the needs of the athlete* (*If you have a body, you are an athlete), so function or technology should come first.
Would a shoe specifically for people who suffer from diabetic neuropathy be considered for this?
Yes. All designs that meet the submission requirements will be considered.
Should the design for the shoe imply a cost efficiency option for the athlete?
Nike is focused on technologies that offer solutions that are more hands-free and improve ease-of-use for athletes of all abilities, including those with limited dexterity. When evaluating submissions, Nike is focused on whether solutions are functional, designed for performance, and enable people to more easily put on, secure and take off their shoes.
If the shoe design utilizes traditional zipper technology or powered systems will it be disqualified?
Although “traditional” zipper technology, power systems and those that utilize separate tools are of less interest, they will not be automatically discarded.
How many people can be on a team?
Individuals may elect to form a team of multiple people to submit an entry. There are no limits to how many people can join a team. However, each member of the team must meet the eligibility requirements set forth in these Official Rules and accept those rules.
The person who submits the solution will be designated as the proposal point of contact and will serve as the contact for all communications between sponsors and team. The team may not change its members after their entry has been submitted. You can read complete details on the team submissions in the Terms & Conditions.