With more than 100 years of experience under their belts, sportswear brand Mizuno and automotive expert Mazda are two Japanese heavyweights that bring both design and a pioneering spirit to the roads of the world. Born out of their shared passion for excellent performance and customer-first thinking, the two companies have come together to create a unique pair of driving shoes: In 2022, their first footwear product will be delivered to customers, firmly focused on comfort, style and the joy of driving.
With its minimalist style, the high top boot isn’t just for driving as it strikes an equally impressive figure on the pavement, satisfying the demand for monochrome designs. To achieve this tonal colouring, grey nubuck synthetic leather and black cow hide were combined with synthetic fibre. The look was inspired by Mazda’s “Kodo – Soul of Motion” design philosophy, which relies on flowing forms and elegant understatement. The design teams looked carefully at every detail to strike the perfect balance between aesthetics and functionality.
The declared aim from the very beginning was to achieve the perfect symbiosis between driver, shoe and vehicle. For Mazda, driving fun and the Jinba Ittai feeling – the oneness between person and vehicle – is always at the heart of everything we do. Bringing those same qualities to a driving shoe required advanced technologies, meticulous attention to detail and a firmly “human-centric” approach to design. Using their vehicle development knowledge, the Mazda designers were able to create a shoe with beautiful proportions and a high-quality finish that stirs the emotions in a similar way a Mazda car does.
Not only is the Mazda and Mizuno driving shoe nice to look at – it also brings excellent driving characteristics to the table. The shoe’s round sole technology supports gentle and controlled pedal pressure. This makes it very responsive and gives the wearer instant feedback on the car’s performance and behaviour. The outsole is modelled on the flowing three-dimensional shape of a racing car and thus combines comfort with optimal grip on the pedals. On top of that, the feet are supported by highly structured mesh, preventing deformation of the shoe. The supportive structure also prevents the driver’s legs from getting tired and the feet from cramping up. The result: Maximum comfort, even on long journeys.
And the comfort doesn’t stop when stepping out of the car: Mazda took special care to ensure that the driving shoe would also make a great walking shoe. While most racing and driving shoes rely on hard and thin soles to achieve responsiveness, this model uses Mizuno’s patented Center of Balance technology for cushioning. The pod clusters used in the midsole offer improved suspension in everyday use without affecting the subtle pedal feel, which allows for a more precise and safe driving experience. The end result is a product that combines a heightened driving experience and everyday practicality – all while looking stylish and elegant.
When online orders opened via Japanese online retailer Makuake, fans of the Mazda brand were evidently excited to get their hands on one of just 1,350 pairs. Within a few days, the limited edition collection was completely sold out, and the lucky customers are now eagerly awaiting the arrival of their new driving shoes. Expect to see Kodo Design on the pavements of Japan in the spring of next year.