Being a sneaker nerd ain’t that bad. Just ask Brett Drake.
Drake, is a local engineer with RESPEC Consultants (and goes by the title “sneaker nerd”) has won a $50,000 Nike shoe design contest.
Last fall, the East High School and UW graduate entered a Nike design contest called the “Nike Ease Challenge” along with about a hundred others from across the country. The contest called for inventors to design sneakers for athletes with physical limitations.
Drawing inspiration from those around him, Drake designed a concept show based on snowboard boots that used a rear-entry hinge and magnet system. Not only was it the top winner and Drakes first-ever shoe design, but Nike executives called it a grand slam and an improvement over their previous try, the “FlyEase.”
“It’s great ideas like his that will make all the difference for athletes everywhere as we enter this new era of personalized performance. The future is always defined by breakthrough innovation, and we are honored to have inspired Brett’s design,” said Mark Parker, Chairman, President and CEO of NIKE, Inc.
Designer Tobie Hatfield said Drake’s design was the clear winner from all other entries when he was invited out to corporate offices to present his prototype. While there, he was placed before a series of judges, including the inventor of Nike FlyEase Tobie Hatfield, nine-time Olympic Gold Medalist Carl Lewis, WNBA MVP and Olympic Gold Medalist Elena Delle Donne and Tatyana McFadden a 17-time Paralympic medal winner.
Along with earning the prize money, Drake will now work with Nike on prototype and testing phase of the new shoe. At the time, no release date has been set.
Speaking with CBS Newschannel 5, Drake says “I can’t even explain the amount of people who have contacted me since finding out. Strangers I don’t even know saying, ‘You know, I have a son who has cerebral palsy. He can’t wear shoes and this is going to give him the opportunity. He loves basket ball and he can wear basketball shoes because of this.”
This isn’t the only big news for Drake, as he and his wife are expecting a new baby, meaning Brett will have even bigger shoes to fill, as a father.