Ora-Ïto's Nikeames shoe is an
"homage to Charles and Ray"


French designer Ora-Ïto has developed a conceptual trainer with curved veneer sections to reference the work of Modernist furniture designers Charles and Ray Eames.

Ora-Ïto pays tribute to the late American couple with the Nikeames shoe design, which he imagines could be produced by sports brand Nike.

The wooden sections designed to wrap around the shoe take influence from the moulded plywood shell of the Eames Lounge 670 armchair, designed for Herman Miller in 1956.

"It's an an homage to Charles and Ray Eames' Lounge chair – the most famous one with the wooden shell," Ïto told Dezeen.

Ora-Ïto Nikeames trainer

"The idea was to make a Nike Eames, like the Nike Air but playing with the Eames, translating the language and the forms and the aesthetic of the Eames armchair into a trainer."

The shoe would be formed from two layers, with the dark wooden panels on the base, upper and heel curving around a black Goretex slipper. Rubber would form a thin sole on the bottom.

The colours would echo the original rosewood veneer and leather of the original chair, which is formed from three plywood shells and modelled on an English club chair.

Ora-Ïto Nikeames trainer

Charles and Ray Eames – who died in 1978 and 1988 respectively – are best remembered for their Modernist furniture designs, which include the moulded plastic DSW dining chair and moulded plywood Lounge Chair Wood. Many of their designs have recently been put back into production in new variations.

"Their work is still very modern," Ïto said. "I was at [Milan's] Salone Internazionale del Mobile [in April] because I present furniture there every year, and it was the year of Charles and Ray Eames – they were everywhere."

"Even if they're dead, they're still the most productive designers, which is quite funny," he added.

Although Ïto has only created a quick render to demonstrate the idea, he believes that it is enough to spark discussion and possibly provoke Nike into producing the shoe.

Lounge Chair by Charles and Ray Eames
Lounge Chair and Ottoman by Charles and Ray Eames

"This could be a very nice limited-edition product, maybe in relation with the Eames Foundation doing a special pack," he said. "If Nike wanted to do it, I would go deeper into the study. This is a first thought, a quick project."

Ïto, who has previously designed a spaceship and a sedan chair for car manufacturer Citroën, told Dezeen that he enjoys these speculative projects and the potential they create for future commissioned work.

"I started exactly like this, creating products that don't exist for brands since 1988," said Ïto. "When I have something in mind and I have free time – not very often – I like to have some fun."

"It's nice to provoke stuff with ideas that can provide a direction, even if the idea doesn't come as a real product."

  • olof

    Oh dear, where do I start.

  • JKontoniemi

    So, the whole bottom is solid. Quick indeed.

  • Romain_M

    Seems like Ora-Ito is returning to the breakout strategies of his earlier years.

    When he designed unofficial products for Louis Vuitton, the latter remained lenient in protecting their trademark. Now that Ora Ito has added a few official notches to his belt, I wonder if a company like Nike will appreciate being “provoked into producing the shoes”.

    As for “sparking a conversation”, all those compound curves can only result in a very rigid shoe. On that matter, does the plywood look a bit thin to anyone ?

  • crbswiss

    I would love this as a cycling shoe!​

  • Ana_B

    A tribute? This looks more like an insult.

    • Antoin

      I totally agree!

    • aran66

      It IS an insult!

  • Antoin

    @Ana_B: I totally agree

  • Steve


    • aran66

      So what do you like about it and why?

  • flakeyfred

    If this were 2002 I’d be really impressed.

  • Picksy

    Similar level to the Karim Rashids homage to the Eames:


  • S. furness

    Socks with sandals comes to mind.

  • Manu

    Love them, but I’m pretty sure they’d sound like clogs.

  • Jack Woodburn

    Suitable only for snobbish display behind glass somewhere.

  • Guest

    Trivialising a great design, to say the least.

  • Concerned Citizen

    In Holland they are called clogs.

  • Its.Eggless

    More like an homage to the chair, NOT to the couple.

    Charles and Ray solved problems without conforming to any one ‘signature style’. Ora on the other hand, places the style of their chair first, and then the function of the shoe.

    Tch tch tch.

  • Deadgar

    Just DON’T do it.

  • John

    I actually love the lines, and even the colours, but there’s no way to make this out of actual wood and have it be functional. The entire sole would be rigid. Ouch.

    I’d love to see this design made with some comfier and more functional materials. The homage would still come across if the wood panels were made of, say, a warm, orange-brown neoprene or even slick, glossy leather. Seems like a valid concept to be developed.

    • Pieter

      I understand that these are supposed to be “trainers” and therefore the wood is not at all functional, but the lines, the colours, and the balance of wood and fabric are beautiful. Anyone who insists shoes must be comfortable to be appreciated has never seen a woman in high-heels.

    • Hugo

      But the soles of cycling shoes are rigid, so I don’t see that as a problem.