Portland’s love for designing sneakers dates back to the days when some University of Oregon types tried their hand at making some running shoes.
It only makes sense that that passion would somehow land on the airwaves.
Pensole Academy founder D’Wayne Edwards will make his TV debut with a Project Runway-esque reality TV show that highlights sneaker design. The eight-episode series “Lace Up: The Ultimate Sneaker Challenge” is set to air on YouTube’s subscription streaming service, YouTube Red, starting on Sept. 13.
Edwards developed the show with the help of the original America’s Next Top Model producer Ken Mok.
“Lace Up helps shine a global light on possible careers in the footwear industry, the footwear design process, what we do here at Pensole and the City of Portland,” Edwards said. “My goal is that Lace Up inspires aspiring footwear designers worldwide.”
The competition brings 12 footwear designers to Portland, where they will be put into teams of four to design, develop and produce “the next great sneaker.” The ultimate prize for the winning team members: a design job at Adidas and a limited, exclusive production run of their own design of an Adidas James Harden sneaker.
Adidas will make the winning shoe available in November.
“Unlike any other competition series before, this show will take place in a real-world environment, as it follows a heightened version of the existing masterclass program at Pensole Academy,” according to a Pensole release. “The series emphasizes a mix of footwear design and professional skills.”
The show will also feature the input of celebrities, models and athletes. Local celebs such as Blazers star Damian Lillard and local b-boy dance team Portland Trail Breakers will appear on the show.
In the third episode, the designers will redesign an Adidas Stan Smith sneaker inspired by rapper Fetty Wap, with the help of Smith himself.