With a nearly endless array of profiles and material block possibilities, sneaker design sketches aren’t too hard to come by. However, the process of converting those sketches into a physical shoe takes nearly the same level of engineering skill and patience as it does to create many “hard good” products –– particularly if you set out as your own brand starting from scratch.

Such is the case with Jon Tang, founder and creative director of the new outdoor-inspired footwear brand FRONTEER.

Born and raised in Houston, Tang’s childhood was spent with NASA and the great outdoors in his own backyard –– leading to a life inspired by the outdoor lifestyle and space exploration. Today, he’s blending the two design inspirations into his own brand starting with sneakers he designed from the ground–up.

More recently, Tang gave Hypebeast a quick rundown on his shoe design process starting with early concept sketches, leading through to tech-packs and ultimately, the finished shoe:

YouTube video

“FRONTEER is a willful attempt in helping the consumer discover a pursuit that absorbs them, frees them, and challenges them,” explains Tang, who graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Design at the University of Texas in Austin. “It’s quite risky to start a footwear brand on your own without any investment or partners, however I firmly believe that FRONTEER gives me the ample opportunity as a designer and creative to really present a brand in its most genuine light.”


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.