Did Pensole Just Produce the Next Great Sneaker Designer?

The skills of the next generation of footwear designers have been put to the test.

A call-to-action campaign, #21daysofdesign, created via Instagram by Pensole Footwear Design Academy, has successfully challenged and showcased the efforts of budding designers.

Developed in collaboration with FN Platform’s president, Two Ten Footwear Foundation and Vibram, Wichaya Chantarasamee — a designer at Pensole — said that her team created the competition for the February 2018 FN Platform challenge.

Designers competed through daily sketching contests on Instagram over 21 days. At the FN Platform trade show in Las Vegas this week, 210 of those sketches were put on display. Industry professionals voted for what they deemed to be the best designs. Competition categories included “original upper on original outsole design” and “original upper on Vibram outsole.”

Courtesy of Pensole

The two winners, whose Instagram usernames are @motane_nga and @isamujarman, earned a Two Ten Footwear Foundation scholarship to attend PNCA at Pensole, a 12-week design intensive program. One of the category winners is also slated to receive a $500 cash prize and will have the chance to have their design produced and sold at retail.

Chantarasamee described what she hoped would be the outcome of the competition. “We hope to see this supportive community of designers continue to help each other by sharing their skills, tips and tricks on designing and sketching,” she said. “Most importantly, we hope to discover talented designers that we can provide mentorship to and the training that’s necessary for them to excel in the design industry.”

She added that the quality of work revealed through the sketches throughout the competition was impressive. “The quality of the work tells us that [these designers] don’t just sketch for the sake of sketching,” she said. “They really did it with the goal of making better design the next day.”

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