Since the days of Bo Jackson, cross-training has been seeing more exposure in the limelight. More recently, popular workout programs such as CrossFit have been demanding more from a shoe than just a comfortable running capability. Movements such as lateral cuts and jumping require completely separate needs from your run-of-the-mill existing high-end running shoe. The new Nike Free Trainer 5.0 is the answer to this and is designed to anchor your foot in most cross-training conditions through the use of a biaxial braid–or in other words…the Chinese finger trap device.

Behind the Design Process

YouTube video

Footwear designers Laura Parrett and Jeff Rasmussen took inspiration form the Chinese finger trap device by incorporating intertwined bands that are soft and pliable into the upper of the shoe:


When the foot is at rest (much like the finger trap device), the bands are flexible and compliant. When pressure is applied (similar to ‘pulling’ the finger trap device), the bands tighten and engage further support around the foot. Essentially, the unique form of adjusted fitting switches back and forth to meet the demands of the task at hand–which in the realm of cross-training can mean multiple movements in a matter of seconds. Compare that to the consistent movement of a runner’s stride and the need for an entirely new and adaptable structure for the foot makes complete sense.













The shoe will be available March 28th at select Nike retailers.


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.