Photo by Jairus Gallimore

From M.A. to L.A.

In just a few years, alum enters world of shoe design with big brands, big business, and big-time celebrities

Have you ever anticipated the release of a sought-after product? Or possibly even waited with bated breath for a shoe release? This situation is common in the sneaker world. Constant releases of exciting new designs, or historic sneaker lore, hype up shoe fanatics across the globe. 

Minnehaha graduate Mark Lind (‘13), is no stranger to the world of shoes. Lind works as a shoe developer for Adidas, one of the largest sportswear companies in the world. As a shoe developer, Lind acts as the bridge between the imaginary and the physical, taking designs and crafting them into prototypes. He does this by sewing together pieces of fabric from the Adidas sample room, to create a shoe that matches the designer’s initial concept or idea. Not only does Lind work for Adidas, but he also develops shoes alongside athletes and celebrities in the Adidas community. For some products, Lind even travels overseas, to countries like China, in order to monitor the production of his original designs.

During his time at Adidas, Lind has worked on several extremely popular and rare shoe models that are worn by people throughout the globe. In fact, these shoes cause such a frenzy when they release, that sneaker enthusiasts are required to enter raffles and drawings to get their hands on a pair. Store lines stretch around corners, and avid sneaker-heads eagerly await limited online releases, in order to obtain Lind’s work.

“This is definitely a cool opportunity,” said Mark, who is enjoying the process of taking ambitious concepts from the drawing board and into the limelight. 

However, when Lind was a student at MA, he enjoyed a different type of work. 

“Wood shop was probably the one class that I could say, from hands on experience, was really beneficial,” said Lind, about the course taught by Minnehaha Academy’s facilities manager Curt Bjorlin.

Lind noted how this class taught him about working with heavy machinery and helped him develop a unique skill set that he could apply to his current job. After leaving Minnehaha, Lind studied material science and engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he continued to explore his passion for creative problem solving and efficient design. His persistence and love for hands-on work eventually led to him taking the role of footwear developer at Adidas, where he works alongside major celebrities and athletes.  

“You really never know what’s going to happen,” said Lind. “If you would have told me in high school that I would work for Adidas and make shoes with them, I would’ve told you that’s crazy.”

Lind’s career path shows that you never can be fully sure where life might take you, but instead you have to be prepared for the twists and turns, making the best out of every new situation. So the next time you’re in the market for a new pair of shoes, or contemplating important decisions that affect your future, rest easy knowing that no one has it fully figured out, and think of Mark Lind. 


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