Graduate scoops PUMA award
Published 2 August 2012
Scooping a top award from PUMA could see University of Brighton graduate, Tobias Rush, help design a shoe which might be tested by Olympic gold medal sprinter Usain Bolt.
University of Brighton graduate, Tobias Rush, has won the PUMA Sustainable Design Challenge. The project was set up as a result of a collaboration between Dr Jonathan Chapman who leads the university's Sustainable Design MA and the sports lifestyle giant.
Since 2009, Dr Chapman has been building a relationship with PUMA which recently became the world's first major company to put an economic valuation on its businesses’ environmental impact.
The Sustainable Design Challenge was launched in October with a March deadline for entries. The brief was to design a product that responds to the theme of 'performance'. The product must encapsulate PUMA's philosophy and its emphasis on sustainability by developing proposals that are fair, honest and ecologically benign, whilst also being stylish, desirable, positive and challenging.
Tobias' design for the Superathelete Sprint Shoe was shortlisted with five other entries in April and he had to do a five-minute pitch at PUMA's London offices to a judging panel of University of Brighton academics and members of PUMA's creative team. The panel said the standard of entries was extremely high with many of the submissions presenting innovative, unexpected and challenging ideas.
Tobias' design combines traditional methods of sprint biomechanics, alternative manufacturing techniques and ecological materials. The heel-less design is extremely lightweight, durable and aerodynamic. A study into human evolution and tribal culture has led to the incorporation of barefoot technology to encourage natural sprinting form for the reduction of repetitive strain injuries.
Born to Sprint
The shoe outsole is manufactured using Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), allowing for greater design freedom with the ability to tailor mechanical properties of sprint footwear based on specific individual performance characteristics. This could be the difference between a gold and silver medal.
Other aspects of the final design include a fully programmed shoe customisation software application for use within a PUMA Running store concept and a Life Cycle Assessment comparing the environmental impact with it's competitors.
Tobias will spend the next 10 months doing a paid internship as a footwear designer at PUMA's headquarters in Herzogenaurach, Germany, and may have the opportunity to build a final prototype which could be tested by Olympic gold medal sprinter Usain Bolt. The internship, which includes full accommodation in the city of Nuremberg, will be in the company’s performance section (PUMA Teamsport) and will see Tobias working on projects which span rugby, football and Formula One racing.
Twenty-three-year-old Tobias graduated last week with a BSc(Hons) in Sports Product Design and spent a year working for Global Premier Soccer in Boston as a graphic/apparel designer and academy soccer coach.
Tobias said: "As sustainability is becoming increasingly important and awareness of surrounding issues is increasing, to have the opportunity to work for a global company with a vision for a better future is the perfect situation to be in upon graduating. I'd like to thank both PUMA and Dr Jonathan Chapman for the fantastic work they are doing and hope that the collaboration between PUMA and the university provides similar opportunities to Brighton students in the near future."
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Contact: Marketing and Communications, University of Brighton, 01273 643022