StarTalk’s photo of Chuck Nice, Federico Maccapani, and Gary O'Reilly.
StarTalk’s photo of Chuck Nice, Federico Maccapani, and Gary O'Reilly.

Sneakerheads and Sneaker Design

Chuck Nice, Federico Maccapani, and Gary O'Reilly. Credit_StarTalk.
  • Free Audio
  • Ad-Free Audio
  • Ad-Free Video
  • Legacy Audio
  • Legacy Video
StarTalk’s photo of Chuck Nice, Federico Maccapani, and Gary O'Reilly.

About This Episode

Sneakerheads Unite! On this episode of Playing with Science, we are investigating the point where fashion, culture, science, and sports collide – sneakers. Hosts Chuck Nice and Gary O’Reilly explore the world of sneakerheads and the science of sneaker design with legendary designer D’Wayne Edwards, Senior Concept Creator at the adidas Brooklyn Creator Farm Federico Maccapani (a.k.a. @Mbroidered),, and NYC sneaker fashionista Ezra Wine. 

D’Wayne tells us about his upbringing and how the odds were stacked against him becoming a sneaker designer. You’ll hear about his first temp job and how that catapulted him into designing sneakers for LA Gear. We discuss the Pensole Footwear Design Academy, which D’Wayne founded, and how and why it came to be. You’ll learn about D’Wayne’s history designing Air Jordans, and he breaks down the science at play during Zion Williamson’s infamous shoe blow out on the court. We also investigate just how much science is behind sneaker design – it’s more than you think. 

Go behind the creative process as Federico shares his insight into creating things that are avant-garde and combine disciplines, like the Hybrid Predator Precision OG 2000 x Harden Vol. 1. Discover more about the adidas ZX4000 4D “Carbon,” a shoe made using 3D printing. Plus, Federico tells us why nature is his biggest inspiration, and we debate if artificial intelligence will ever fully design shoes. 

Finally, Ezra brings us up to speed on how sneaker culture got where it is today. Take a trip back in time as we explore the influence of the Air Jordan 1. You’ll hear why the league fined Michael Jordan for every game he wore them, and the legacy it left on sneaker culture and street fashion. We investigate the marketing strategies of Nike and adidas and how they create hype around sneaker releases by limiting stock. You’ll also discover how sneaker releases have changed from 1984 until now. 

NOTE: All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: Sneakerheads and Sneaker Design.

In This Episode

Episode Topics

Get the most out of StarTalk!

Ad-Free Audio Downloads
Ad-Free Video Episodes
Stickers & Mugs
Live Streams with Neil
Priority Cosmic Queries
Early-Access Videos
Learn the Meaning of Life
...and much more

You Can Also Listen On

Music in This Episode