Muro.Exe is a new and creative shoe brand based between Madrid, Barcelona, London, Milan and San Sebastian which is taking over the fashion industry with its new sneaker design concept. For them, less is more, pure forms are best and innovative materials are the future of sneakers. We had a chat with the creators of the brand and found out what’s behind this new sneaker craze.
What was the inspiration for Muro.Exe?
We were inspired by many things. First of all, the impossibility of finding products with a design that fits both a shoe and a sneaker. This pushed us to design our own hybrid. Second, we were inspired by the high qualities of technical sneakers applied to urban or casual sneakers, which was another goal to reach with our product. Third, we were inspired by the methodology and process of industrial design, aesthetics (not fashion), contemporary guidelines (not retro), minimalism and pure forms. We think that the mix of all these ideas can be found in our sneakers, our packaging, and in all the things surrounding the product.
Can you explain the reason behind the name?
“Muro” is a private joke of the team (or maybe a tribute) and it refers to a previous project that originally pushed us towards the creation of our own sneaker brand. Furthermore, we think “Muro” is a perfect word: short and direct, plus it doesn't mean anything in any other language. “Exe” on the other hand, is like Muro’s younger brother, a surname that adds the technological touch we like so much (part of the team works on technological aspects in projects and we love it).
How did the “Extinction” collection come about?
The Extinction collection relates to the coming future. It's a conceptual collection that offers three models inspired by several concepts related to the 6th Extinction: Acid Rain and Nuclear Winter. These will be climatic phenomenons if extinction ever occurs, and TTAPS is the name of a famous scientific report about the consequences of the whole extinction process. This kind of subject allows us to make more interesting collections that go beyond 'the blue, the grey and the white'; they become storytellers and tell people interesting stories about these concepts whilst giving them a different shopping experience. It also enables us to develop the colours of our models in a different and special way.
What is the connection between extinct objects and your trainers?
In the past we used to talk about the vintage and retro: these trends (currently overused) have inspired us a lot, but in a different way to how we are inspired now. We don’t want to do something that feels retro or vintage, nor anything that reminds us of already existing products, or what our parents or grandparents used to wear back in the day. Nowadays fashion and design is all about something making a comeback'. We chose another direction instead: finding an aesthetic related to today, something very 21st century, something relevant to the century we are living in.
How important are the materials that you use?
We've chosen high quality materials after thinking about the sneaker’s use and the properties we need for it to be perfect. The thing is not to use the most “fashionable” materials, but the most balanced between their functionality and aesthetics. The materials are one of the most important keys for reaching a really well done, functional sneaker. Thanks to them we are capable of reaching properties such as waterproof-ness, resistance, biomechanical properties and light weight qualities.
Describe the materials that you use for your "TTAPS".
The materials we use are the same for our three models. The sole is built using polyurethane, lighter than rubber and better than EVA because it allows us to make a pattern so as to improve the grip on the ground. The material on the outside is made out of PVC, which makes the sneaker totally waterproof and facilitates the recovery of its original shape. The insole is made with a high-quality foam sponge and it’s ideal for long day wear. We also use interior foams to increase comfort.
Why trainers and no other fashion items? (Will you produce any other fashion items?)
We produce sneakers and no other items because we're great fans and users of sneakers and we really think there is an opportunity to make better thought items in this area. We expect to explore other variations over our sneakers and maybe, in the future, other items related to sneakers. The most important thing is that for us, sneakers aren’t necessarily 'fashion items' but products that follow a similar design process and methodology to those used in industrial design. Fashion wants to design pretty things; design wants to solve problems like walking the city for twelve hours. Sneakers are a very complex product, with a lot of components and details that must be assembled perfectly for it to function properly. We've started the project and focused the design process on these ideas, and these ideas have helped us along the entire design and manufacture process.
What creative process do you undergo when designing a sneaker?
Designing a sneaker is a long and very hard process. We found a lot of complex goals in it, like reaching a perfect shape in terms of a biomechanical view, finding a sole design which was never seen before, creating a good design with a distinctive style in a world full of sneakers… Another goal was to choose the best colours for our first collection: 'extinction'. The subject in this first collection isn't an easy concept to translate into colors, so the conceptual process to find the topic and colours for each model was long and difficult (but successful we hope!).
Do you have a physical shop?
Not yet: we're basically selling online, through our website, but we will soon start having some well selected shops in different European cities to sell our sneakers.
What sort of people are you aiming to sell this to?
We've created these sneakers for all those sneaker lovers who need a versatile product for their daily life; smart as a shoe but comfortable as a sneaker, appropriate to go to work, shopping, to a concert or an afterwork drink... We also take into consideration people who like really well designed products, new aesthetic design, and who are interested in the product they buy from the point of view of how it has been deconstructed, what pieces have been used, the fabrication process.... It's all explained on our website (this and and a lot more!)
Where do you make the "TTAPS"?
We make our sneakers in Elche (Alicante, Spain), in a factory with an experience of more than 30 years making shoes and sneakers. Alicante is a classical 'shoe-makers' area in Spain and it's very interesting for us to be so close to the factory (we are only 3 hours away from it) in order to work with them on new prototypes, testing new fabrics, controlling the manufacture process and the final quality of the product.
What are the benefits of having designers that are multi-disciplinary and not solely shoe designers?
The most important thing is that they come to the project from scratch: no previous perceptions or already used concepts on how to create or how things happen in the fashion business. These 'empty' minds let us deconstruct a sneaker and reconstruct it again asking ourselves about each of its components, without boundaries, dreaming about things that might not be possible to make and finally, doing things in different ways. Later, the factory helped us translate our designs into something real. It's very interesting to create things following this methodology: if you start from scratch you can really reinvent everything...
Muro.exe in one word.