Local engineer, Brett Drake of RESPEC Consultants, has been announced as the winner of the Nike Ease Challenge, winning the $50,000 first prize!
According to a release from Nike news, the intent of the challenge was to “engage the broader community to innovate new footwear ideas that help athletes put on, secure or take off their shoes- including athletes with disabilities”, following the introduction and expansion of the Nike FlyEase innovation platform.
“It wasn’t just about designing a new shoe, we wanted a big idea that would accelerate footwear innovation in a way that makes the seemingly impossible possible for athletes of all abilities.” -Jeanine Hayes, Nike’s Chief IP Officer
Drake’s design was chosen due to the use of a rear entry system that uses lightweight magnets to transform the heel into a “drawbridge” to provide a simple, wide entry and exit area.
“The idea that I could use my passion, problem solving and engineering expertise to enable others to enjoy movement and sport like I do became great inspiration for my idea.” – Brett Drake, winner of the Nike Ease Challenge
The competition received submissions from “all corners of the United States”, and Drake was one of three finalists chosen to present in front of judges to include nine-time Olympic Gold Medalist Carl Lewis, Tatyana McFadden-a 17-time Paralympic medal winner and others. Drake will move on to collaborate with Nike in the prototyping phase and begin testing his innovation with athletes of all abilities.
Read the full article HERE.