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His name is Chase, but you can call the good-natured 14-year-old from this year's Doernbecher Freestyle program ‘The Captain.’ “It’s my nickname because I’m a take-charge kind of guy,” he says with a smile.

Chase is planning on pursuing a doctorate in neuropsychology someday, and he designed his Air Max Zero with the same attention to detail that he gives everything else in life. Chase's dedicated Nike design and development team made sure the final product captured all of his ideas and inspirations, from lighthouses and planes to his life-saving shunt.
“Chase had an astute vision of what he wanted to do," says Graphic Designer Jeremy Pettis. "For me, a big takeaway from this project is to never underestimate the creativity of children. I kind of wish all of my bosses could be a 14 year old like Chase."

One of the primary things Chase wanted incorporated into his Air Max Zero design was a shunt graphic. “It was really important to Chase to have the shunt incorporated into the shoe," reveals Footwear Developer Emili Woody. "Chase has hydrocephalus, and the shunt prevents water from collecting on his brain. That’s where the brain graphic on the sockliner came from, too. The shunt graphic extends down into the shoe where the brain sockliner sits, connecting the two.”
Overall, the sneaker's design pays tribute to Chase's love for a lighthouse on the Oregon Coast, and features a color scheme that mimics the lighthouse's spot near the ocean and a reflective volt Swoosh. “We really tried to bring Chase's vision to life, and the lighthouse was really important for him," says Color Designer Carsten Franke. "He really wanted to incorporate it from the start, and the gradient on the midsole mimics the way the land meets the sea from the lighthouse.” The team also developed a unique patch for Chase, which can be seen on the sockliner and apparel and speaks to his growing love for airplanes and his unstoppable nature.
On the tongue, the words 'Unstoppable Chase' replace the standard Air Max Zero logo, while Chase's own signature and 'The Captain' nickname boldly adorn the laces. These elements further highlight Chase's story and fit the very detail-oriented nature of his design style.

In the end, the project, and the finished sneaker, represent not only Chase's inspirations, but also the powerful impact of Doernbecher Freestyle on the team as a whole. “We love kicks and I have these giant shoe feelings," says Emili. "Taking time out of your day to listen to Chase explain why he has a shunt, and why it’s so important that it comes to life on his shoe, is incredibly refreshing. To get to work somewhere where things like this are a priority…not everyone gets the chance to do that and it's very special."
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