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Many classic Nike shoes were born from a simple desire: to make running and walking more comfortable. The Nike React Element 87 is one such shoe that also owes its geometric design to data drawn from everyday athletes.

Work on the shoe began by pressure map testing individuals who walk heavily throughout the day. These maps show the points where feet experience the most fatigue from commuting, running errands, and otherwise. Designers then drilled holes into these spots on running shoe soles and repeated the process with Nike React foam for added comfort.
The pressure maps not only informed how the shoe would feel but also how it now looks. The wave-like arcs simply looked cool. Nike Sportswear Innovation Designer, Darryl Matthews, used them to create an algorithmic pattern that could be applied to the outsole, using a curvy deboss that communicates movement.
“After receiving this data, I worked on a two-day sketch,” says Matthews. “The whole process was really a back-to-basics exercise that taught us new ways to make a shoe look and feel great, while also harnessing the power of cutting-edge computation design.”
When it came to the shoe’s shape and materials, Matthews found inspiration in the original 1983[1] Nike Internationalist (the tongue, toe, and heel clip) and the translucent textile and asymmetrical tongue of last year’s Zoom Fly SP upper. Combined with suede accents, the Nike React logo, and rubber outsole pods, the shoe represents a powerful, performance-focused intersection of old and new.

“People are drawn to the shoe, because it has layers,” says Matthews. “It's not a flat shoe, and the way it looks depends on the socks you wear. It’s like when Nike exposed the Air bag, except now we’re able to expose the inside of the shoe, too.”
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