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ArtCenter Student’s Futuristic Running Shoes Cross Design Award Finish Lines

Published on Thursday, June 21, 2018 | 5:26 am

A new shoe concept designed by a recent ArtCenter College of Design graduate has recently been selected as winner in at least two concept design awards for its innovative intention of replicating the experience of training on soft sand found in coastal regions.

Aarish Netarwala, who completed his masters in Industrial Design from the ArtCenter in Pasadena in December, started working on the design, which he calls Grit, when he was a student working as an industrial designer in a sponsored studio with the Adidas Futures Group.

Adidas wanted to explore the future of sports in its partnership with ArtCenter, and called for innovative concepts for running shoes.

For inspiration, Netarwala looked to Sand Dune Park in Manhattan Beach, where a number of prominent athletes, including Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant, frequently worked out because of the difficulty of running on sand.

Aarish Netarwala

To mimic the experience, Netarwala first tried attaching pouches of sand and other granular materials to the bottom of his running shoes and tried them on concrete. When he saw that the shoes became unstable with the pouches, he tried a 3D-printed latticework – denser on the heel for stability, and more collapsible near the ball of the foot.

The resulting concept now mimics sand, absorbing energy from the user and fatiguing leg muscles faster, and making the sand training phenomenon accessible to athletes globally, even when training on any ground surface.

Netarwala’s concept was recently selected as winner in the Student Notable Consumer Product Award at Core77 Design Awards 2018, and a Gold Winner in the 2018 Spark International Design and Architecture Awards.

Netarwala completed his BA in Fine Arts from the La Salle College of the Arts in Singapore, where he also experienced work as an industrial designer in cross-disciplinary teams.

Aside from his masters from ArtCenter, Netarwala also holds an MBA from the Claremont Graduate University. While at the ArtCenter, he also worked as design consultant for such companies as Nestle, Amazon and Newell Brands.

Netarwala is presently connected with Fuse Project in San Francisco, working as an Associate Design Strategist, according to his LinkedIn profile.

To learn more about Grit and Netarwala’s other current pursuits, visit

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