It’s that time again, true believers — your favorite shoe people, WearTesters, have caught up with the designer behind a killer shoe. This time, I spoke with Evan Lok, the designer of the Under Armour Threadborne Shift. He dropped knowledge and took us behind the design of the shoe.
[Bryan Hinkle for WearTesters.com]: Threadborne has made many appearances over the last year — the Curry 3, the Charged Controller — and that was just in basketball. Then there was my favorite, the Threadborne Slingflex. They all have different looks and feels.
[Evan Lok]: The UA Threadborne Shift was created as we continue our entry into the Sportstyle segmentation of the market. Its intended purpose is to continue to shift the consumer’s mindset of Under Armour being a solely performance brand to a brand that is also continuing to create product that meets the consumer’s everyday lifestyle.
With the UA Threadborne Shift we wanted to blend the two worlds of sport and style. Ultimately, we set out to create a product that is inspired by sport and informed by modern functionality, technical style and all-day wearability.
Now, the Threadborne Shift has more of a knitted yarn look and feel. How do the different iterations of Threadborne apply to the different lines, and is that a conscious decision or just evolution of design?
Threadborne is the latest textile innovation from our brand. For footwear specifically, Threadborne spans all of our knit, woven and embroidery innovations which allows us to tune and design at the thread level. In this case, the Shift’s open knitted structure and yarns were specifically engineered to increase breathability and maximize durability.
What influenced the design of the straps? Honestly, it works like a seat belt.
You are correct, both the straps in the forefoot and heel work in conjunction with the mid-foot saddle to secure the foot onto the platform, kind of like a seat belt securing your body to the seat. The elastic straps allowed us to achieve a customized fit which works in unison with the minimalistic Threadborne knitted upper.
The Charged midsole is really thin and stiff compared to the Slingflex and the Gemini 3. Is that because of the lifestyle aim or is the composition/implementation of Charged different?
It was a conscious decision by the team to design a tool that balanced a sleek lifestyle look with cushioning and durability. Both the Gemini 3 and the Slingflex are built on a dual density platform and utilize a segmented rubber outsole for its performance properties. For the Shift, we decided to implement a full length rubber outsole with raised lugs for increased durability and traction, which does tend to stiffen the overall ride. With that said, we balanced that with the use of Charged foam in the midsole for a cushioned yet responsive ride. We also added recessed notches from heel to toe on the sidewall to provide better overall flexibility.
Thank you for your time Evan.
For these last two questions I spoke to Ernie Talbert, Under Armour’s Lifestyle Senior Global Brand Manager.
We see a major artist/creative push with this shoe, something UA seemingly hasn’t done yet. Reaction to the market, or were Migos the “signature” players?
We recognize that creativity comes from many walks of life. This shoe presented us the opportunity to recognize those we feel are shifting the culture, from a place of the norm to a place of the unexpected. In addition to the MIGOS, we are privileged to also work with others such as Goldlink, Taco, Meechie and Jesse Wellens for the Shift footwear campaign.
Were the Migos involved in the design process?
The MIGOS are friends of our Brand and we respect their creative vision which ultimately transcends much further than music. They visited our offices last year and had the opportunity to check out product that was on the verge of completion. They really gravitated towards the Threadborne Shift, and we knew at that point we wanted to work with them to bring it to life. Fortunately for us, we also have a great partner in Champs Sports that helped to shape the vision between Julio Jones and MIGOS for the campaign.
Thank you for taking the time Ernie.
There you have it folks! Another up close and personal with the people behind the product. We would like to say thank you to Under Armour for being so open and cooperative with their answers (something about answering WearTesters questions has people feeling open lately).
That said, have you checked out the Threadborne Shift yet? If so, drop your thought balloons below.
Images of Evan Lok courtesy of Under Armour