Every sneaker enthusiast’s zeal for footwear starts from a memorable event that catapults their pursuit for the perfect shoe. For ROOY Season 1 Footwear Design Challenge winner YongWoo Choi, the iconic Air Jordan 11 was the momentous sneaker that eventually paved way for his entire design career.
Choi studied industrial design in South Korea’s top art institutions and arguably the best in the country at Hongik University, with a focus on vehicle and product design. The self-proclaimed shoe collector doesn’t credit any one scene or style for his design inspirations. Instead, he argues that a collective sensory experience from music, movies, images and nature inspires his design in footwear, product development and fashion.
Currently working as chief and executive designer at COG, an independent design studio in Seoul, Korea, his experience in design carries over in his sneaker sketches and renderings often with a sophisticated and minimalist look.
Shoes reveal a lot about ourselves, and the times and period of fashion from the past to the present.
Though simple in design, the OOO [wu:] emphasizes focusing on the smaller, much finer details of the shoe’s design and silhouette. The OOO [wu:] is edgy yet subtle, and the absence of visible eyelets are symbolic of Choi’s minimalist approach to design. Heat is used on the Tenderate outsoles giving the look of razor-jagged teeth, a style so distinct and unlike any others in the footwear market.
The concept behind the naming of the OOO [wu:] (pronounced as ‘woo’) is emblematic to the consonants of the Korean alphabet, ‘Hangul’. The “O” is the eighth consonant in the Korean alphabet and is included in the designer’s name “용우”, pronounced as “young woo”.
Tenderate is a leading manufacturer of TPE (thermoplastic elastomers) products. TPE are polymeric materials that are malleable when heated. This allows Tenderate to offer different soles by processing TPE with varied amounts of additives. Tenderate’s Soft Solutions Move soles are made to handle all types of terrains, and was used to create the jagged look of the OOO [wu:].