CX, E-Commerce, and AI @ Nike

2013-2015, 2024*


Future Product Designer




Case Study

My Nike career started as a part-time retail “athlete” and I worked my way into management. My dream was to make it to a corporate design job, but sometimes paths change. Even though I chose a different direction, Nike still had an everlasting effect on my career. 

This case study showcases how my experience at Nike helped me take my first steps as a UX Designer, preceded by an exploration into AI that emulates the in-person experience that is missing from e-commerce.

AI Exploration

I’ve conceptualized a feature within the Nike app utilizing conversation design and my retail experience.  Think of a situation where you're looking for a specific shoe, but you don't know what exactly that is. People go into physical locations to speak with experts and figure out what it is they're looking for.

You can't get that same experience online.

The experience mimics the in-person experience that a customer would receive if they walked into a Nike store looking for a shoe that would fit there needs (a situation the case study below outlines).

With brick and mortar declining, this could be a great way to capitalize on that live customer experience within the constraints of e-commerce.


Background: All of my formal work experience revolved around customer service, and as I was trying to break into the UX field, I had trouble applying that to my resume and portfolio

Problem: Lack of formal UX experience made it hard to break into the UX field

Solution: Applying UX principles to my past experience at Nike made me realize that I was already using UX and embracing customer empathy while also using this case study as an exploration into AI and e-commerce

Result: 7+ years later and UX has ruined my life

What follows is the original case study applying UX principles to my past experience.

Design Thinking

As a consumer, there’s so many options to choose from when it comes to sneakers. There’s different categories like running, training, basketball, etc. which can be broken down even further. Sometimes consumers are left choosing a product not designed for their needs, and end up unhappy with their choice. How do you fit the best product for the particular customer? Design thinking.

My Role

As an employee, it’s our purpose to find exactly what they are looking for. You're equipped with training techniques to interview customers, cross-reference different technologies, as well as be able compare product with different competitors. Every customer is a project with a short turn-around time.

The Challenge

Different customers have different stories. One could be looking for a running shoe to inspire them to start running again. Another could be looking for a basketball shoe that’s lightweight, but didn't sacrifice impact protection. Customers also presented unique problems like not knowing what they wanted, budget constraints, or even aesthetic taste. I was working with different personas!

I didn’t realize back then, but I was using design thinking to sell products.

It Starts with Empathy

For this case study, I'll use an example of a user looking for a running shoe.

A customer walks into the store and heads straight for an associate. They get to discussing the customer’s running habits. A user interview. They currently run in the Nike Free, unaware that the shoe is built for barefoot running, low impact, low mileage. They claim that the longer they go the more their feet hurt, and the fatigue weighs down even more. With this information, I can define the problem: they have minimal cushioning on their current shoe.


Synthesizing feedback from the “interview,” I infer that the customer is looking a for more impact protection, and stand the mileage of a longer run. I generate a couple ideas to choose from Nike’s footwear technology that possess these features, and come up with a "prototype:"

The Nike Zoom Pegasus 35 – Zoom air cushioning for a responsive(energy returning) ride. Engineered-mesh upper for a breathable, traditional fit.


I present the shoe to the customer for usability testing and make observations on their movement. New data is gathered. They miss the feel of the Nike Free (a model that mimics barefoot movement) because it was like an extension to their body. However, they do enjoy the cushioning.

Sometimes, the customer can be happy on the first try and walk out the door. Other times, like for this scenario, I would have to revisit the design process and reiterate. So I come up with another suggestion:

The Nike Epic React – React cushioning for a softer, impact-absorbing ride. A Flyknit upper for a sock-like fit.

This time, they immediately fall in love and run out the store (after paying!).

All thanks to design thinking.

Run It Back

I've already revisited my work at Nike with the AI exploration, and aside from that, I've also used the UX process to create sneaker concepts for some of my favorite basketball players. Nike still holds a place near and dear to my heart.

It wasn't the way I thought it'd be, but it foreshadowed where my career would go, and I'm happy to be where I am now with my untraditional experience at Nike.

Using the UX process to conceptualize sneakers for athletes.