Matt Holmes

Creative Director of Innovation, Nike Global Footwear

Matt Holmes has designed shoes worn by the top tennis stars in the world.

When Matt was studying at the Wellington School of Design, he designed footwear for his sporting mates. Since then stars like tennis players Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, and millions of sports enthusiasts, have worn his designs.

In hindsight, Matt’s career sounds like it was meant-to-be right from the start. As a child, growing up in Nelson, he played almost every sport imaginable: soccer, tennis, volleyball, softball, table tennis, rugby, and cricket. A teacher at Nelson College explained that many of the things he admired, from running shoes to beautiful cars, were created by industrial designers – and he was hooked.

He came to Wellington in the late 1980s, on a scholarship, and when gurus like Massey graduate and then-lecturer Mark Pennington, Leong Yap and Noel Brenner were reinvigorating the study of design with thorough research and a focus on ergonomics (human-centred design).      

Matt’s first job was with Fisher & Paykel. The firm has been the launch pad for many emerging designers from the School of Design, including Mark Elmore, and Matt was part of the team who worked on the award-winning Dish Drawer.  

Seven years after graduating, Matt decided to try his hand in the US. A senior designer at Apple pointed him to Nike in Portland, Oregon – where Matt’s enthusiasms for great design and sport could meet. Matt’s running shoes have won a string of awards, including 2007 Runners World Shoe of the Year. Now, as Creative Director of Innovation, Matt and his team face the constant challenge of coming up with the next bright idea to stay ahead of the competition, like how to make a zero waste shoe. It’s hard work but he still has an infectious passion for great design.