Chris Dixon calls it the Dojo. It’s a nod to what he calls the Pensole Footwear Design Academy experience.
It’s also his winning design from last year’s World Sneaker Championship.
Dixon plans to launch the shoe next month at SneakerWeek PDX, the latest sign of Portland’s booming status as a hotbed for the global sportswear business.
The shoe, which laces in the back, is meant to be versatile, and suitable for work and casual wear. It’s made with leather and aeroprene, a type of neoprene.
"I wanted to take classic material and connect it with modern material," Dixon said.
Dixon said the aesthetic pays homage to Pensole, which the Portland-based footwear design school founded by former Jordan designer D’Wayne Edwards in 2010. Pensole has become one of the sportswear industry’s top feeders for talent.
"D’Wayne is from a different generation, but he connects to the future generation," Dixon said.
Dixon worked with Portugal Footwear, a footwear sourcing agency which made 300 pairs of the shoe.
A North Carolina native, Pensole hired Dixon in August after he won the 2017 World Sneaker Championship, a contest that Pensole launched in 2014 to identify and mentor the next generation of footwear designers.
Dixon’s now the design school’s head of special projects. He recently oversaw the Sneakerhead of State, a contest for high school students that attracted more than 1,500 entrants.
He developed the Dojo through his CD Brand, which stands for Constant Development, and has core values of cultural diversity, creative disruption, constant design and courageous devotion.
Dixon hasn’t set a price for the sneaker, but he wants buying it to be memorable. He’s planning a pop-up shop during SneakerWeek at which people can learn more about the sneaker design process, including all of the steps leading up to making a prototype.
"I want to create an experience," Dixon said.
SneakerWeek runs Aug. 26 through Sept. 1.