“Cross-Court” Field Test

Mikey Robins x Filling Pieces [ 1 of 1 pair ]

In May 2020, I had the oppurtunity to be a part of the “From-Home Work Shop” hosted by Amsterdam-based Street Fashion brand “Filling Pieces”. Incredibly, I won the contest with my redesign of their iconic “Low Plain White Court” sneaker. My redesign featured a lugged sole and removable cover, allowing the user to commute through dirt and mud while keeping the sneaker clean.

The prize for winning the “From-Home Work Shop” was to work with the Filling Pieces design team to recreate and prepare my prototype design for manufacturing a 1 of 1 pair. I sent them the prototype that I had created and then we began to meet through video meetings to realize my redesign concept.

Once the prototype arrived in their Amsterdam studio, I worked in collaboration with their footwear designers, Michael Lennheden and Martin Sallieres, two extremely talented and knowledgeable designers. We bounced ideas off of each other trying to find solutions to the posing challenges.

April 2021
Test Ride
All Photography by David Kitchner

There were a few features that had to be tweaked so that manufacturers would not have to create any new tooling for a shoe that would only be made once.

The prototype had a “railing” around the tip of the midsole that originally kept the cover taught to the sneaker. Unfortunately this was not feasible without creating a new mold. So we pivoted from this by replacing it with a zipper that would keep the cover from sliding up over the toe box.

We also decided to replace the nails in the midsole with hooks that were relocated up onto the upper. Lastly we decided to change the color scheme as well since I was originally working with materials that I had found around my house/studio/garage.

Once we had locked down the colors and feature changes, Michael went ahead and sent the design to their manufacturers in Portugal. A couple months later the pair arrived on my front door steps.

Once I had the pair out of the box, my first thoughts were to put them in a glass box and hide them away. But I reminded myself that shoes are meant to be worn, and so I began to plan out a “Field Test'' to see if they could stand up to some muddy trails in Golden Gate Park.

It was time to test the Cross-Courts, so I headed for Golden Gate Park here in San Francisco. I rode through the park and had a lot of fun finding new trails and looking for muddy puddles.

By the end of the ride, the Cross-Courts were covered in mud, but they were looking better than ever. The zipper covers worked perfectly letting me ride through the mud while keeping the shoe clean underneath.