In 2008, BMW unveiled their design concept car with a seamless, flexible fabric outer shell stretched over a movable structure BMW GINA Light Visionary Model. Now it is making it practical in the shape of ... shoes.
BMW Group's design studio Designworks and Puma co-operated on the project, which borrowed some features of the GINA project and transformed them into a new kind of sport shoes, known as BMW X-CAT DISC. They are the latest addition to Puma's DISC footwear range.
The basics for the new shoes was a combination of BMW's flexible, ergonomic and lightweight GINA material and Puma's DISC techonology, which instead of traditonal shoe lace utilises a rotating disc that pulls internal strings to fasten and unfasten the shoe. The shoe has only one thin layer of stretchable and light GINA fabric that wraps around a leg like it was outer skin. Because there are no additional seams, the dynamic movements of the wearer's feet feel very natural.
In the spirit of GINA concept designer imagined the foot to be a kind of chassis, wrapped with a material, which was redesigned to be sufficiently durable and to meet the requirements of a shoe. The new shoe also had to 'breathe', so the user would feel comfortable wearing it. They also thought about the underlying structure of the foot and came up with a unique design, insipred by interconnecting gears. It integrated both engineered flexibility and interlinked stability.
Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design, commented: "The approach was to look at every aspect of making a shoe and to try and reimagine it. Freeing yourself of what is here now can be an enjoyable and rewarding exercise. Typically, it also speeds up change," and Torsten Hochstetter, Global Creative Director at Puma, added: "With the X-CAT project, we wanted to unleash the innovative power of BMW and PUMA. We have transformed the essence of the shape-shifting GINA car into a streamlined and elegant shoe."