Pele Sports Trinity 3E

Pelé Sports Innovation Team

The Pelé Sports Trinity 3E is designed to deliver comfort and maximum acceleration, while its unique stud geometry naturally decreases the risk of injury and enhances the speed and precision of the football player. It was intended as an ultralight boot with a completely new type of outsole, to provide players with the perfect shoe for sprints, tackles and quick movement during matches.

With an average of 2.7 injuries per football team worldwide, Pelé Sports placed protection against injury and propulsion performance at the heart of its design. The unique patent-pending asymmetrical stud geometry harnesses the natural mid-foot motion, ensuring the earliest possible force generation, accelerating the wearer’s response rate.

The unique positioning of the rear tripod studs triggers earlier ground contact and stability with high velocity release. The forefoot studs permit excellent traction and acceleration. The studs work cohesively to distribute the pressures exerted on the foot and improve grip. The outsole plate is specifically designed to prevent rolling over of the ankle — a common cause of most injuries sustained in football.

The team worked together with engineers at Formula One to strip away unnecessary weight and improve the structure of the conventional boot design. Despite extremely low weight characteristics (158g), all Trinity 3E materials were selected for maximum durability. The outsole is created from a futuristic hybrid of fibre reinforced lightweight polymer that results in an optimised rigidity directly related to the biomechanics of the foot.

The synthetic upper Symbioskin™ is an extremely low density, tri-laminate material designed specifically for the Trinity 3E. These three unique elements are fused together to create symbiotic functionality and ultimate underfoot support.



Sonny Lim graduated magna cum laude from the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands with a Master of Science degree in industrial design engineering. He conducted his graduation project at the Sony Ericsson Creative Design Centre in Lund, Sweden. Mr Lim started his design career at Adidas where he was responsible for innovative football shoe lines worn by some of the world’s top football players like Lionel Messi and David Beckham. He left the company six years later to become senior designer at BMW Group DesignworksUSA in Singapore. He was the creative lead for numerous internal design projects for BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce. In addition, he led a variety of strategic projects for third-party clients including Sennheiser, Hewlett-Packard and NeilPryde Bikes.

His collaboration with the Pelé Sports Innovation Team was the direct result of his extensive design knowledge in high-performance, advanced and premium sports lifestyle products. In his current role as senior design consultant at Philips Design in Singapore, Mr Lim draws upon a deep knowledge base to formulate innovative strategic design approaches and to create meaningful innovations.

Says Mr Lim: “I see design as looking for possibilities and possible futures, instead of only solving present-day problems. Products are the means of getting people to behave and to feel in a particular way. Products earn their meaning in their interaction with people. The way you use a product is determined by the context for which it is designed. Future contexts demand new and different behaviours.

“My creative process is context-driven and I often ask myself questions like: Why does this product exist?, why does it exist in this way?, what aesthetic conventions does it use?, and how did it evolve to be the way it is?. The fun part is developing the vision for the product and its meaning to the users. In essence, this is the story the product should tell.”


Pelé Sports Innovation Team
Sonny Lim
Greg Lever-O’Keefe
Ezio Margiotta
Darryl Cassingham

‘‘Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. If you’re not quite sure about an idea, it’s most likely because that ‘something’ is new and fresh. Innovation is the reward for having the courage to continue in uncertainty.’’

Insights from the Recipient

What is the responsibility of a designer to the community or society?

Sonny Lim: Good design is not just about solving present-day problems. It looks for possibilities and possible futures. Products are a means of getting people to behave and feel in a particular way. Conversely, the way you use a product is determined by the context for which it is designed. This context can be the world today or it may lie years ahead. Future contexts demand different behaviours. My creative process is context-driven: "Why does this product exist? And why does it exist in this way? What aesthetic conventions does it use? How has it evolved to be like it is?"


‘‘Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. If you’re not quite sure about an idea, it’s most likely because that ‘something’ is new and fresh. Innovation is the reward for having the courage to continue in uncertainty.’’

Jury Citation

The Pelé Sports Trinity 3E was thoroughly researched to find ways to reduce foot injuries and improve foot stability, especially during the fast directional changes where ankle injuries are most common. There are three innovations in repositioning the studs to achieve this. The first is the positioning of the front studs as close as possible to the edge of the boots to better stabilise the foot in fast directional changes, to reduce the chance of ankles injury; the second is the positioning of the rear studs further back to allow the wearer to accelerate faster and increase stability; and the third is the asymmetrical stud layout to improve traction in acceleration and deceleration.

The studs and sole of the boots are triple injected. The pre-moulded studs are first placed in the mould, then double injected to create a sole of the right structure and characteristics for the player. The design process also considered sustainability, using lightweight but durable materials and an eco-friendly water-based solvent to glue the parts and joints of the shoes, giving a simple resolution and design.

The Jury appreciates that the design process of the Pelé Sports Trinity 3E was thorough and innovative, resulting in a persuasive new design.


Nominator Citation


Singapore has many enthusiastic football fans. One of whom is Singapore designer Sonny Lim. His love of the game inspired this pair of unique football boots. These innovative, lightweight shoes deserve to be nominated Design of the Year because every detail is conceived with “The Beautiful Game” in mind. The shoe bears the name of, and is influenced by Pelé, one of the most beloved and respected footballers of all time. Designed and fitted with materials specific to ensuring the footballers’ comfort, traction and stability, the shoe allows the wearer to focus on scoring a goal. The shoe was launched worldwide in November 2011, and has since won widespread praise from both professional and amateur footballers.