MEET THE MASTERS
Performance shoes have never looked or felt so exciting and runners are buying them in record quantities. As the pace of innovation quickens, industry experts talk technology, design and the race to bring the coolest kicks to market.
The Yoda of performance shoe design, D’ Wayne Edwards’s career has spanned three decades, culminating in his position as design director for Nike where he became one of only seven designers in the world to design an Air Jordan. His designs have sold more than $1 billion in footwear worldwide. He now educates and mentors up-andcoming footwear designers at his education facility, Pensole Footwear Design Academy in Portland, Ore.
Sole operator James Bleakley is already carving out a place for himself as one of Canada’s only freelance performance footwear design consultants. The 23-year-old Ontarian is an Instagram generation designer with an enviable social media following and an even more enviable sneaker collection. His career is forged from a long-held passion for kicks.
New Balance’s senior product manager has worked in sports footwear since she was just 15-years-old. Before joining the team at New Balance, Claire Wood worked for competitor Brooks and has watched the industry and the brands within it evolve to meet consumer demand. She determines what New Balance products will be hitting the shelves each season.