ARKK Innovation: Crafting Nordic Sneaker Icons
Blood, sweat, tears, and tons of R&D! A LOT goes into creating a quality sneaker in the 21st Century, but, frankly, that's what it takes to do it right. Here at ARKK Copenhagen, we are committed to challenging the status quo in everything we do, which is why innovation is key to our DNA. Here's a behind the scenes look at how we are crafting future sneaker icons, one innovative detail at a time.
Rooted In Scandinavian Design
At the core of the Scandinavian Design tradition (whether in furniture, graphics, architecture, or fashion) there has always been a spirit of innovation - of finding a better or more beautiful way of creating something useful.
It was into this creative context that ARKK Copenhagen was first conceived and within which we continue to grow today. Since day one, we've been asking the question, "how do we create sneakers that are more than sneakers?" Below is a behind-the-scenes look at how - through creative, collaborative innovation - the ARKK team is striving to answer that question.
The Journey From Concept to Drop
In our experience, a general rule of thumb is this: it takes no less than 18-months for a new sneaker to evolve from a fresh idea to a completely finished, customer-ready pair of kicks. During that time, every single aspect of a shoe is thoughtfully considered, sampled, tested, and modified until it's perfect.
Five Aspects of Sneaker Innovation
The ARKK team is passionate about continually pushing the boundaries when it comes to creating clean, simple sneakers. To do this, we are constantly re-imagining what is possible with the basic building blocks of sneaker design: (1) the silhouette, (2) the sole units, (3) the upper material(s), (4) the colorways, and, (5) the lacing technology. These design areas make up the anatomy of every ARKK sneaker design and each aspect demonstrates our commitment to continual, creative innovation.
When it comes to design, nothing is as definitive than a sneaker's silhouette. Much like the three dimensional profile of a building, a sneaker silhouette is all about proportion, scale, and geometry.
A sneaker silhouette can be sporty and dynamic (like the Raven S-E15), sturdy and structural (like the Pythron S-E15), or nuanced with technical precision (like the Lion H-X1 and Spyqon H-X1). And while the silhouette is often the first aspect you encounter with a sneaker, it certainly isn't the whole story...
Custom Sole Units
To date, ARKK has custom designed, developed, and featured two custom-designed EVA sole units: (1) the STABLE E-15, our original sole unit which debuted on the first Raven in 2015, and (2) the HOVER-X1, a more lightweight sole unit that debuted in 2017. But this is only the beginning...
Later this year, ARKK Copenhagen will unveil multiple new sole units to complement the ever-expanding collection of ARKK sneaker innovations. There will be much more to share about these new units in the months to come (stay tuned). In the meantime, don't miss the Lion FG H-X1 video at the bottom of this post, for a detailed look at sole unit / sneaker construction.
The landscapes of Scandinavia are rich with a broad spectrum of textures and colors. From the sand dunes of Western Denmark to the verdant forests of Sweden to the volcanic peaks of Iceland, these geographies are in turns vastly alien and comfortingly familiar.
With every ARKK sneaker collection, we endeavored to pull out the best colors from the sometimes extreme / often placid palette of Scandinavian landscapes to create timeless street-ready sneakers that evoke just a bit of the wilds of the north.
Along with the practical requirements of a sneaker upper, there is also the question of style and innovation: does this material have interesting properties or tactile features that make it the best choice? Can we do something new with this material that has never been done before? This was precisely the case with ARKK FutureGrid - a technology that features our trademarked double-knit woven mesh combined with a structural internal skeletal system.
Whereas a sneaker's silhouette is the key element to how a shoe will look, the choice of precision uppers is the key to how comfortable a sneaker will feel on the foot...and what could be more important than that?
The last lesson from today's visit to 'sneaker school' is all about the laces. Traditional lace-up sneaks have been around for generations and they have always gotten the job done well enough. But what if there is a different way - a more interesting way to incorporate design into the lacing system? That's the question we love to ask about laces.
Above are just four examples of innovative ARKK lacing systems: from the Spyqon's Infinite Lacing System to the Eaglezero's Internal Medial Cage, ARKK lacing is all about bringing together function and form in a clean, simple way so that you can lace up (or simply slip on!) and get out there and change the game!
Want to take a closer look at the innovative styles featured above? Click to explore each ARKK silhouette: