A few years back when I ran for 500 consecutive days, I hadn’t lost my mind—I’d found it. There’s something about running that helps you tap into parts of the brain you didn’t know were there. Challenges that seemed too tough to face at work or in life suddenly have a clarity. Running gets both the problem-solving and creative juices flowing.
Which is why Nike collaborated with artist Kelly Anna on a new running collection—she often runs before starting her art projects so she can get excited about her work. “I run or work out five to six times a week,” she shares. “For me, it’s really important to be active with what I do, as a lot of it is sat at a desk drawing or staring at the screen. It’s also really healthy for your mental state. Working in the creative industry can be quite exhausting, so you need to give yourself a break.”
Sure, running can burn calories and get you fit, but it also gives you a sense of freedom to explore streets you never have before. Art is also incredibly freeing, and Nike gave Kelly Anna the chance to let loose and emblazon a pair of Nike Free running shoes with her signature style of abstract, brightly coloured shapes.
The design for the collection is inspired by London—including the abstract architectural shapes of the city, the winding shape of the Thames seen from a bird’s-eye view and the green hues of London’s iconic park landscapes. Kelly Anna studied the city’s textures and merged them together to create a design that’s as vibrant as our capital.
A lot of work went into the collaboration, with Kelly Anna sending over three sketchbooks to the Nike HQ in Portland, USA. “My relationship with Nike started a few years ago, and quite naturally. I know a few of the team had been following my work for a while, and a lot of what I post and work on is so inspired by sport and fitness that it has felt like the most authentic relationship,” Kelly Anna told Byrdie UK.
“I genuinely believe that if you work on things that you are passionate about, things will fall into place because it’s coming from a really authentic starting point. You can’t pay for that. It’s why the brands that stick around longest are the ones that are born from a passion for sport, music and art.”
There is something so joyful about this Nike Free running shoe that, combined with the sunshine finally showing its face, I genuinely feel an urge to start running again. Who’s with me?
The Nike X Kelly Anna collection is available to shop below.