the NIKE ZVEZDOCHKA will be re-released this month to mark its tenth anniversary



the marc newson designed NIKE ZVEZDOCHKA originally released in 2004, is a bold and sophisticated shoe inspired by the early space age (this space connection even extends to the shoe’s nomenclature. the ZVEZDOCHKA is named after a russian space dog launched into orbit aboard sputnik 10 in 1961.) both a shoe and a piece of art, the unusual multi-piece construction ignited widespread conversation.


the ZVEZDOCHKA was the result of landmark engineering. modeled entirely on a computer, the shoe featured a modular design. four interlocking, interchangeable parts were constructed: the outer cage, the interlocking outsole, the innersleeve and the insole. these parts could be worn in multiple combinations, together or separately, for diverse functions and environments.


the breathable perforated cage formed the base for the interlocking parts. fitting the foot like a second skin, the innersleeve was crafted with flexible and resistant materials to cover the foot and help protect it from the elements. the interior sock liner featured a NIKE zoom air unit in the heel for added cushioning. and the interlocking outsole snapped into the perforated cage to create the foundation of the shoe.


the ZVEZDOCHKA will be re-released in it’s original 5 colorways through NIKE’s NIKELAB locations and online from december 29, 2014.



the ZVEZDOCHKA is named after a russian space dog launched into orbit aboard sputnik 10 in 1961



to mark the occasion of the ZVEZDOCHKA’s re-release NIKE CEO mark parker and designer marc newson reflected back on the project…


how did the ZVEZDOCHKA come about?


mark parker: I knew marc before the ZVEZDOCHKA project, so I was familiar with his philosophy. marc’s problem-solving approach to design is similar to ours, so working together came very naturally to both of us. as we began discussing the project, we turned our focus to an unexpected area – the process of traditional shoemaking. that’s when we started exploring new territory and saw the potential for this project to be about more than just a new shoe.



marc newson: the idea of a collaboration evolved gradually over a number of years. mark parker had approached me personally a very long time ago now—way back in 2000—and  suggested the idea of a collaboration. we looked at sunglasses, bags and other footwear before deciding on a shoe. this was a period when I had been invited by the russian space agency to spend time at baikonur (star city) in russia, where all the space launches happen. there was a lot of activity at the time relating to the international space station and I got to hang out with cosmonauts working on the ISS, learning about the effects of working in a zero gravity environment. I thought of designing a shoe for them that would be fit for all purposes while in space—work, leisure and intense exercising. the shoe would have to work in a completely different way ergonomically. a convertible shoe, keeping the foot covered and suitable both for intense exercise or floating around the cabin. this was my inspiration for a new typology of shoe that didn’t exist in the nike range. essentially, something between a shoe and a bootie. the ZVEZDOCHKA.



the NIKE ZVEZDOCHKA colorways which will re-release this month



the ZVEZDOCHKA represented an entirely new method of shoe construction and caused quite a stir when it launched…


mark parker: sometimes you need to disrupt and create new models to affect meaningful change. we could not make the ZVEZDOCHKA with traditional cut-and-sew methods of making footwear. but we also didn’t anticipate the original idea would take us in that direction. sometimes it’s about asking the right questions in the right moment with the right tools in hand.


I like to think there’s always a balance. you don’t always have to start over to create an emotional reaction to your product. it’s always powerful to deliver a breakthrough, but there’s also a true art to making something great even better.



marc newson: for me as a designer, it is vital always to push boundaries—to look to the future and think about how things will be. otherwise you are irrelevant. for me, design is always about exploring possibilities with new technologies, processes and materials. often cross-pollinating between industries.


the idea of a particularly new challenge for NIKE – designing a shoe for a space environment. you have to exercise in space otherwise you will atrophy in zero gravity. what could be more demanding for NIKE than an extraterrestrial environment for a shoe? this was a great catalyst to initiate the product with NIKE, but for use on earth. a bootie-convertible-slip-on shoe that would be completely injection-moulded. I believe there was no other bootie that transformed into a shoe in the industry at that time.


NIKE ZVEZDOCHKA – orange outer cage



how do you think the ZVEZDOCHKA has influenced design?


mark parker: the principles of the ZVEZDOCHKA have the power to unlock many exciting opportunities at NIKE – from customization and modularity to sustainability and manufacturing.


design is an iterative process. one idea often builds on another. looking ahead, i’m energized thinking of the opportunities provided by customization and modularity. of course, in terms of sustainable design, the ZVEZDOCHKA’s influence will continue to be deeply felt. the shoe removed constraints for a sustainable future. this will always be a goal of ours.



marc newson:  I look on this as a piece of a puzzle in the larger body of all my work, including my gagosian editions evidenced in pieces like the random pak and the voronoi shelf. in general terms, the influence has been and will continue to be more about approaching design problems from a different standpoint. in this case a piece of footwear being seen as a product rather than a garment, both in practical and philosophical terms.


NIKE ZVEZDOCHKA – blue outer cage


NIKE ZVEZDOCHKA – white outer cage


NIKE ZVEZDOCHKA – volt outer cage


NIKE ZVEZDOCHKA – black outer cage


the ZVEZDOCHKA will be re-released in it’s original 5 colorways through NIKE’s NIKELAB locations and online from december 29, 2014.



read our recent interviews with NIKE designers:


mark parker »
eric avar »
martin lotti »
tinker hatfield »
tobie hatfield »
paul francis »
nathan vanhook »
matt nurse »