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East meets West. Form matches function. Sport inspires lifestyle. Nike brings it all together with Joga Bonito, their massive new football (aka soccer) campaign that includes today's debut of the woven Air Footscape in Milan. Cool Hunting was on-site for the occasion (courtesy of Nike) and sat in on a roundtable discussion with Richard D. Clarke, Nike's global creative director, and Peter Hudson, global creative director for Nike football, to get a sense of the exhaustive design process—nearly three years long from start to finish—that went into creating the line.

Continuing Nike's 35-year old tradition of high-performance gear, the designers worked extensively with football players worldwide to refine innovations meant to cut down interference with the athlete's body. While performance comes first—as Clarke put it, "good design is good design."—Nike sent teams that logged weeks in each country (a total of 14 teams altogether), researching design history and culture, to come up with details to uniquely represent each nation—a consideration that makes sense given football's reign as the most popular sport worldwide.

Artwork, Bearbricks, Air Force Ones and lots more information after the jump.

Mirroring the international flavor of the game, each of the eight shoes represent Australia, Brazil, Croatia, Korea, Mexico, The Netherlands, Portugal, and the U.S.A., all countries that will participate in the 2006 World Cup with team federation logos on the sockliners and colorways that coordinate with national flags. Pairing elements from the original Nike Woven (a derivative of a shoe called the "Superfly" and that has also showed up in the Considered line) with the biomorphic shape and footbed of the 1994 Air Footscape Trainer, Clarke and Hudson came up with the tessellated design to create a seamless, one-layer upper. The off-center lacing, taken from the original Footscape and later used in a Nike football cleat, relieves pressure from the top of the foot, which enables more oxygen flow to the rest of the body, and also creates more surface area.

But Nike didn't stop with performance-enhancing design innovations. An invitation-only exhibition at La Posteria, the Nike Studio in Milan, opened last night, 6 April 2006. Timed to coincide with Milan's furniture and design week, the exhibit runs through 10 April 2006 and includes artist-designed, country-specific graphics and limited edition 1000% Bearbricks, commissioned photographs, and a Joga Bonito bookzine that comes with a complete set of mini Bearbricks. Unavailable to the public, only 2006 of the sets and the bookzine were made.

And, last but not least, an edition of Air Force Ones in team colorways launches mid-May.

Air Force Ones

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Korea

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Mexico

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Brazil

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U.S.A.

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Australia

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Brazil Bearbrick: graphics by Os Gemeos

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U.S.A. Bearbrick: graphics by Stash

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