Dynamic Pro II Sailing Shoes by Ian Walker
Musto ambassadors are amongst some of the best athletes in the world, which is why with their help, we’re able to design and create some of the best products in the world. The Dynamic Pro II was created in collaboration with Olympic medallist, Ian Walker, who worked with Musto’s design team to help redesign of the Dynamic Pro I to help create the Dynamic Pro II. The result was truly groundbreaking footwear, made to provide stability on the fastest boats that won the Clothing and Innovation and Sailing Today 2017 award. We caught up with Ian to get his perspective on the design process and the challenges he faced during the testing process.
Ian on the challenges surrounding sailing collections
When you’re testing technical apparel and footwear, like ones for motor car racing, you would probably put it on a track and race round and round for 50,000 miles.
To test products for sailing – the process is a lot harder. The amount of time needed to fully test a product is extensive, and if you don’t have people out there sailing in a variety of different climes, you won’t put the necessary amount of stress on the gear. This protracted testing process means that it can take over 5 or even 10 years to fully develop a new product.
To dry quicker. Be lighter. And last longer.
When you’re sailing around the world or spending extensive time on the deck of the boat, you will find that wearing socks with deck shoes comes with its own set of unique problems. They get wet all the time, so you end up in a boat full of wet socks. But as soon as you dispense of them, your bare feet get sore, smell awful and slide around inside the shoe.
The same goes for the shoe itself. As they get wet, deck shoes stink the entire boat out and lose their integrity as they’re continuously exposed to seawater and the elements.
So I got to work with Musto’s shoe designer to help develop and test the Dynamic Pro II – a reinvention of the brand’s popular Dynamic Pro I. Four different prototypes were refined in the construction of the final shoe. A couple were solely focussed on addressing the fit. For example, one version was actually the wrong shape on the heel. We carved the shoe up with a knife to try and optimise the shape, to offer enough support at the back of the foot without it digging in – a crucial detail. And a unique innovation is that the shoe actually tightens around your foot so you don’t slip and slide inside. Another prototype saw the inclusion of anti-odour technology because we principally wanted a product that stood the test of time, dried quickly, was lightweight and steadfast on deck - and didn´t stink!
The end result is a simple shoe and a fantastic combination of all of these.
Testing the Dynamic Pro II
Having completed the TP52 super series, which was about 9-10 weeks of sailing, I was exposed to conditions that were comparable to that of dinghy sailing. But the final version of the DPII gave me the performance advantage on teak and wet decks alike. Regardless of the conditions or the type of sailor, the thing that unites us all is the need for a good shoe. Having worked on the shoe, I was already fully confident that its performance on deck would be nothing short of spectacular. And I wasn’t wrong!
Redefining anything, from a design perspective, is a painstaking process because our instinct is always to adhere to convention and move down the path of least resistance. It takes courage to make bold moves and present new ways of thinking to our audiences. The Dynamic Pro II is symbolic of the benefits being disruptive can bring! Traditional sailors equate hardwearing with heavy, but modern sailors know this isn’t the case. Footwear can be light and durable, it can be flexible and secure and it can be fresh and dry in wet environments. The DPII is movement in the right direction.