You receive a call from former NFL Raider and star host of NBC’s hit show “American Ninja Warrior” Akbar Gbajabiamila, you have to take a step back and realize something. All those late nights in the lab, all the trial and error to come up with something innovative and all of the times you thought about quitting this “hobby” because it wont amount to anything, may have actually started to come to fruition…
“We need a Los Angeles based theme shoe for American Ninja Warrior by next week. Can you meet that deadline???” he asks.
“Of course!” I responded without hesitation, knowing damn well I had no clue how long this project would encompass. The mere fact that being commissioned to do a project like is an opportunity of a lifetime! So without further ado, and about 60 hours of work on Akbars kicks, we would proudly like to introduce our rendition of the “American Ninja Warrior 11s”!
The theme was Los Angeles. Why? Because the show is being taped in Universal Studios in the Los Angeles area. Just the preparation and planning took about 2 days. Why so long you may ask?
Well, when you need to learn the in and outs of the show, the host, and make a killer theme, research is absolutely necessary. We explored the preferences of the host, Akbar (after all, hes gonna be wearing em, so we need to make sure hell like em!), the do’s and dont’s of what is allowed on network television, and the longest part of this process, understanding the history of Los Angeles and whats symbolic enough to represent LA.
What we came up with…
A 360 degree map of Los Angeles on these size 15 Legend Blues
If you take the map of Los Angeles, and were to lay out down on a pair of shoes, this map would accurately give you directions to the most popular parts of Los Angeles. Heres the layout from one part of the shoe all the way around:
Outer shoes map route:
LAX ▶️Culver City▶️Santa Monica ▶️ Studio City ▶️ Hollywood ▶️Echo Park▶️DTLA▶️Inglewood▶️LAX
Inner shoes map route:
La Cienega/Mid City ▶️ South LA ▶️ Crenshaw ▶️ La Cienega
In total, we clocked in 60 hours of work on these shoes in a one week period. The last 3 nights were the toughest. Staying awake till 4 am the last 2 nights and 6 am the day before delivering the shoes, you can imagine that sleep sounded amazing afterwards.
If Akbar were to hit me up again and ask me to do this all over again, how would I respond?
I’d do it all over in a heartbeat…
Hope you all enjoy the kicks as much as I enjoyed making them.
LOS ANGELES STAND UP!
“You are now rockin with the best!”