Parametric Shoe Design Project

Design Work, Research, Student Works, Teaching

For this second year undergraduate project, students engaged in the design/development of a shoe design that accommodated for a both style and performance, selecting between to options with the designer identifying with a particular gender.  The first option explored the design of an athletic shoe, looking specifically at the types of performance criteria surrounding a particular activity (cleats for soccer players, arch support for runners, etc.).  Students were expected to use this criteria to inform a design solution while simultaneously exploring notions of aesthetics (how do develop forms that embody movement, even when stationary?).  The second option was a fashion shoe, looking at the design process in a more formalist approach (that is, there was a concept that the design developed around and was imbued into the object) and simultaneously explored/developed performance criteria (high heels have center of gravity issues, boots have wear points and common contact points, etc).

To support this project and given that the students have only just begun to explore digital technologies, including parametric modeling.  I developed an array of parametric grasshopper definitions that respond to foot scan information that was acquired from the local running company (Manhattan Running Company).  This gave the students an understanding of the power these tools both in development but also in production since they are able to iterate based on varied constraints in the definition.