The winning design from Pensole Footwear Design Academy’s partnership with Foot Locker and Asics — the first-ever “Fueling the Future of Footwear” master class — is scheduled to hit stores this weekend. With the shoe’s release looming, Pensole’s founder D’Wayne Edwards shared what the experience was like for his students.
“This class allowed the students to see the product creation process of what it’s like to work with a brand and a retailer at the same time and the back-and-forth conversations of, ‘I like this,’ ‘I don’t like that,’ Edwards told Footwear News.
Having insight from both a brand and a retailer, according to Edwards, gave the students a broad view of how sneakers come to market that consumers aren’t typically privy to.
“The lesson I think they learned is it’s not just about the finished result — it’s about the process of how you got there, it’s how you present your work, how you story-tell, how confident are you in pitching it,” Edwards said. “That total package of what it takes to get a product to retail.”
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Before the media reveal of the winning design on Sept. 8 in New York City, Edwards shared what he felt guiding his students throughout this process.
“I grew up going to Foot Locker, dreaming of having my shoe on a Foot Locker shelf, and I was blessed enough to have that happen for 20-plus years. It’s a bit more gratifying to see it in reverse — I’m seeing it through someone’s eyes and being able to guide them through this process. I wish I could be here for that Saturday when it comes, for them to walk into that store for the first time and see it, because that’s a moment they’ll always remember.”
Edwards said his first shoe hit shelves in 1989, a colorway he came up with for the LA Gear Street Hiker.
The winning design on Asics’ acclaimed Gel Lyte III silhouette — dubbed “Pensole Reflect” — arrives in select Foot Locker doors on Sept. 17. The shoe — which was created using the concept of reflection and mirror images — is limited to 300 pairs globally, and executed with a blue and orange color palette.
And not only will the winning team’s design appear on Foot Locker shelves, but they also walked away with a $12,000 check.
The shoes will be available at the following Foot Locker locations: 112 West 34th Street in New York; 8500 Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles; 283 Oxford Street in London; 4-6 Rue Pierre Lescot in Paris; 247 Yonge Street South in Toronto; 9459 SW Washington Square Road in Tigard, Ore.; and Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, 24/28 in Milano.