First 30 Days Blog

18 apr

Shoes Made from What?

RobertCordraySince early man first strapped cowhide to his feet with leather strings 8,000 years ago, the design of shoes has been evolving. As men and women have changed, so, too have the materials of which their shoes are made. Now, you can find shoes made from almost anything: animal parts, computer components, plastic grocery bags, even grass. But, that doesn’t mean you’re going to wear them.

Taxidermy for the Feet

Just as the early shoemakers began with the leather hides of animals, designer, Iris Schieferstein decided to see what kind of shoes she could design using more of the animal’s parts. Using taxidermy methods, she creates shoes made of entire doves and snakes. These shoes are both interesting and a little unsettling. They are not very popular since most people find them impractical or object on the basis of animal cruelty. Her most attention-getting shoes have been ones using horse’s hooves. These strange “Centaur-like” boots are reported to be uncomfortable and can only be worn for a very short time.

Go-Go Gadget Shoes

With today’s obsession with all things electronic and technologically advanced, it is no surprise that shoe designers have entered into the virtual world. Shoes with the capability to hold small portable devices in the shoe’s heel, such as an MP3 player or cell phone, are now on the market. These designs may seem practical, for all intents and purposes, but can also mean taking the chance of losing your device. It could also be damaged during daily wear, getting wet or becoming lodged with dirt.

“Smart shoe” technology can be seen at its most creative with Google’s “Shoogle,” an Adidas athletic shoe that incorporates “smart phone” technology. This shoe is able to track the wearer’s physical activity, voice 250 phrases of encouragement and information and talk to the contact list in the wearer’s cell phone, now that is good user experience. Unfortunately, these shoes were created by Google as an example of their capabilities and not for sale to the general public so the users won’t be able to have the experience.

Eco-Friendly Attempts

As the cry for reduce, reuse, recycle becomes louder by environmentalists everywhere, the quest to create shoes from eco-friendly products continues. Using recycled corrugated cardboard beer cartons, designer and sculptor, Mark O’Brien, creates men’s athletic and dress shoes. Although these shoes are exact replicas of designer shoes, they are intended to be used as art pieces and are impractical for wearing. Other designers are using recycled paper to make shoes, but with little luck in making ones that are durable enough for daily wear.

The “Sod Sandals” created by Yashu Kusa take going green to a new level. These flip flops include a sod insole that grows actual grass. Although you get the comfort of walking on a fresh lawn, if you’re not a plant person, take heed. They require regular plant maintenance.

Probably one of the best ideas in recycled footwear comes from Emily Bergin, who takes plastic grocery bags and creates “plarn,” plastic yarn. She uses the plarn to crochet sandals. But, although an inventive use for grocery bags, these sandals do not provide much support.

Wire shoes are also being tried by inventive footwear designers. Polly Vertity uses galvanized wire to create ladies shoes. The shoes are lightweight, but are reported to be very uncomfortable.

Fabric Seemed Like a Good Idea

With the interest in shoes such as TOMS, using fabric for shoemaking has gotten increasingly popular. The staple fabric for shoemaking has been heavy canvas, which is strong enough to withstand wear. But, there are designers trying their hand at making shoes of felt and fleece fabric. The trouble with these softer, more pliable fabrics is they cannot stand the everyday wear and tear shoes get. Fleece also makes the feet hot and stretches with wear. Primarily used for infant and baby shoes, when it comes to adult footwear, fleece is a flop.

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Posted by Robert Cordray on April 18th, 2014 in General, New Directions, Technology | 0 comments Read related posts in , , ,

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