Today was one of the coolest days ever. I had the honor of hanging out with the Nike Product Team, because I'm apparently the muse for a new running shoe. 😱 I performed for them, showed them my home studio, talked about my inspirations, running habits, what I look for in shoes, etc, and then (COOLEST PART) was asked to give detailed feedback of dozens of incredible color palettes, textures, and designs. Y'all know how much I love giving feedback and making my design and usability preferences known...I am one of the pickiest people in the world, after all! At the end, they gifted me with the most gorgeous new lightweight running shoes in a color I'm drooling over (all white).
🎈 Today was particularly meaningful for a few reasons:
1) I am passionate about running, so this was an opportunity to nerd out on my special interest. My passion for running isn't competitive, fitness, or performance-based. I love it for other reasons: the mental clarity, fresh air, agency, independence, fun, and depression-reducing effects it provides me.
2) I legitimately am brand loyal to Nike, so it's not like this was a random company I didn't care for. When it comes to running shoes, I have exclusively worn Nike Free Runs for the past 6 or 7 years. I just get new Free Runs whenever it's time for new shoes. I (like many autistic people) am very sensitive to bulk, clunky weight distribution and anything on athletic shoes that makes it obvious that I'm wearing an apparatus. It's sort of like tags on t shirts -- if I feel it, I'm bothered. If I'm unaware of my clothes, it's good. The first time I put on Nike Free Runs years ago, I almost cried because they were RIDICULOUSLY light; so light and aerodynamic that I couldn't tell I was wearing shoes. I remember being SO excited my first time doing a 10K in my Free Runs. It was the Santa Monica-Venice Holiday Run. These shoes made running a pure joy. (Btw I highly recommend them for any autistic or sensory-sensitive people or just anyone who needs a very comfortable shoe.)
3) I got to share a glimpse of my life, my art, neighborhood, even talk about Star Wars and sweet potatoes and autism and how music helped me open up and find a voice to share with the world. I talked about my distaste for the Jedi council, my support of the EU-Legends transition, and my love for Anakin's complex darkness.
4) The 6 people I met with were each REALLY cool. It was highly stimulating to talk to them about their respective niches and roles within shoe design. One is the color person, another does texture, another sketches the 2D models, another translates it to 3D and facilities production, and two others lead the marketing campaign. But they are all a unified team that contributes their area of expertise. It's an art just like any other, and I really love witnessing that in contexts outside of my own.
Thank you so much for the honor of being part of this new shoe, and for the fulfilling day. ✨