This Agency Used a Weather Balloon to Fly Nike’s New Vapormax Shoe Into Space

Space150 pulled off the stunt in just a weekend for Air Max Day

The shoe flew about 117,550 feet above L.A. before the balloon exploded and it fell back to the California desert. Space150
Headshot of Marty Swant

Over the weekend, one agency gave Nike’s newest product a bit of extra air.

To celebrate the release of Nike’s new Vapormax (and the 30th anniversary of the Nike Air Max), Space150, one of Nike’s digital agencies, attached one of the shoes to a weather balloon and sent it straight into the stratosphere.

After working on a poster project for Nike’s Air Max Day, Space150 creative director Ned Lampert wanted to try something a little different. So on Friday, he called Nike and asked for a pair of the highly coveted shoes.

“They said, ‘Do it,'” Lampert said. “And then two hours later, I was on the phone with a weather balloon pilot and buying him an airplane ticket on that call.”

The pair of kicks didn’t arrive in Los Angeles until Saturday night, but by Sunday morning, they were ready for liftoff. Lampert and the pilot attached the shoe to the balloon along with two GoPro cameras to capture the feat. Over the course of two hours, the shoe ascended far above the surface of earth, about 117,550 feet above Los Angeles, before the balloon exploded and the shoe fell back to the California desert via parachute. (On Monday afternoon, the agency streamed the footage on Instagram using a hack it found for posting live video after the fact.)

“It looks fake,” he Lampert. “Everyone I’ve shown the video to said it looks fake, but it’s very much real.”

So why do it? Lampert said said it was a way for the agency to experiment on the fly by quickly turning a random idea into a reality.

“We’re really inspired by Nike,” he said, “inspired by their approach to technology, their approach to culture and trying to push the limit as much as possible, and we felt this was the perfect intersection of sports and culture to tell the story of the lightest shoe in the world.”

Here’s a map of the 60-mile area the shoe covered as it rose and then fell back to earth.

@martyswant Marty Swant is a former technology staff writer for Adweek.