When it came time to put a Flyknit upper on the Air Max 270, designers were set on creating a direct tie from the 270 cut-and-sew shoe to the Flyknit version. “When you do the toe-down view on the cut-and-sew pair, there’s this asymmetrical, wind-runner kind of look,” says Jesi Small, the Nike Footwear Product Design Lead who developed the shoe’s Flyknit upper.
To do that, she says the designers focused on the challenge of bringing that design language into what would be a one-piece, sock-like upper — quintessential Flyknit — but with a few surprises.
“The Flyknit has a nice graphical read on the medial side. Because it doesn’t have toecap or side overlays, we asked how we could garner interest in the look of the one-piece upper, as opposed to having the panels that you can play with on the cut-and-sew version,” says Small.
Here, Small explains four ways they did just that.