Tom Sachs and the Perfect Sneaker

NikeLab-Tom-Sachs-Mars-Yard-2-1_70434American artist Tom Sachs is a bricoleur of the modern world – meticulously examining how consumer materials and design objects figure in our lives. From Hermès grenades to Aalvar Aalto gun ammunition, the former Barneys window dresser has shocked and amused the art and fashion world since emerging as a cheeky-eyed provocateur in the mid-90s. In  2012, the artist partnered with shoe manufacturer Nike to release the NikeCraft Mars Yard, a shoe inspired by Sachs’ interactions with NASA’s  specialized scientists, and designed as high-performance equipment for a future trip to Mars, as well as to a life in the concrete jungle known as New York City. How could a shoe be eternally durable – or a living work of art, that is always getting better? Using the latest hi-tech materials, there seemed to be no limit for this artful shoe – but just to make sure, Sachs took the next five years to test it, eventually realizing its shortcomings. “It passed the abrasion test. It passed the strength test. It passed the folding test. It passed all the tests, but when we started using it, it didn’t meet our expectations,” said Sachs. “It’s not until you really wear something and realize…We used a new material, and we expected better.” Effectively, Sachs recently reunited with the Nike team to produce a 2.0 of the NikeCraft Mars Yard: a beautiful sneaker in polyester warp-knit tricot mesh, two kinds of insoles (cork and mesh – ideal for sockless wear), kept in a natural color scheme with no use of dyes. “I have always embraced flaws. The natural polyurethane midsole shows wear. The shoe shows evidence of experiences, even the little bits of tongue that may flake off are like forensic bread crumbs,” Sachs describes the shoe, which is meant to reflect the daily wear and activity of the laboring human body. “People wear their scars with pride, so that’s another reason why we don’t polish the materials away — it’s storytelling. Rock your shoes dirty to say, ‘I wear my shoes. I do things with my life. Behold the evidence of my actions.”

For more information, see NikeCraft

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