Reebok: Reebok Pump

Rather than building another shoe with a spring in the soles, our team approached the challenge through a design-thinking lens.

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Seeing a mention about Continuum in BusinessWeek, Reebok contacted us to help them to design a breakthrough athletic shoe that would rival Nike’s new release.

01

Challenge

Athletic apparel brand Reebok became a publicly traded company in 1985, but within a few years, the company’s sales were suffering. Nike had recently released their Air Jordans—a basketball shoe boasting unique sole technology and an endorsement from the sport’s most beloved athlete. The spring-loaded shoes, which promised to maximize your vertical jump, also succeeded in launching Nike sales skyward.

Seeing a mention about Continuum in BusinessWeek, Reebok contacted us to help them to design a breakthrough athletic shoe that would rival Nike’s new release. Rather than building another shoe with a spring in the soles, our team took a step back, approaching the challenge through a design-thinking lens—long before such an approach was common in corporate boardrooms.

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Research & Insights

03

Solution

In November 1989, the Reebok Pump debuted as a premium competitor to Nike’s Air Jordan, retailing for $150.

Merging design concepts from medical technology and sportswear, Continuum’s designers developed an athletic shoe for Reebok that would define the brand for years to come.

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The design concept would be successful only if the pump was integrated into the shoe itself — a conviction that inspired the iconic basketball-shaped pump on the tongue.
Borrowing technology from medical device design, we installed air bladders from blood-pressure cuffs into the sides and back of a basketball shoe.

04

Results