What is it about shoes?????

Postby PackageID » September 5th, 2011, 9:36 pm

User avatar

PackageID
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 2427
Joined: February 19th, 2006, 6:17 pm
Location: New Jersey
Ok I have been on these boards for quite some time now. I have been an Industrial Design for almost 10 years, but I have to ask the question...What is it about shoes that has made every ID student want to become a shoe design? I completely respect all of you!! You can knock out some kick ass sketches and renderings that I don't have near the patience for. But back to the question, what made shoes the big thing? Back when I was in school it was cars. Every designer wanted to design cars. I saw a lot of great car sketches along with a lot of terrible ones as well. I never thought though that shoes would take this over.
-Justin Coble-
http://coroflot.com/jcoble

"Never let the same dog bite you twice" -Chuck Berry-

Re: What is it about shoes?????

Postby yo » September 5th, 2011, 10:56 pm

User avatar

yo
Administration
Administration
 
Posts: 13261
Joined: January 5th, 2004, 6:57 pm
Location: SoCal
The attractiveness from a designer's perspective (not a student's as these probably wouldn't make much sense yet)

1 they are functional and emotional
2 they combine many different manufacturing techniques
4 their wearers generally care about their selection
5 they are one of the few relatively complex products that a single designer pretty much does on his or her own
6 there are many diverse functional performance problems tonsolve that vary by type
7 the marketplace so voraciously demands new designs that a designer can get a lot of product to market within a few years, experiment and take risks (if you can get away with it) and quickly learn from your mistakes
8 you get to see people enjoying your work publicly and get to use it yourself
9 there is a wide accepted aesthetic range to play with
10 designing footwear is pretty fun in general

Re: What is it about shoes?????

Postby tarngerine » September 5th, 2011, 11:11 pm

User avatar

tarngerine
full self-realization
full self-realization
 
Posts: 1000
Joined: July 8th, 2008, 8:15 pm
Location: NYC
What about the lack of 3D modeling? Does that play a role? (Unless there is 3D modeling, then I'd like to learn what it is!)

Re: What is it about shoes?????

Postby yo » September 5th, 2011, 11:30 pm

User avatar

yo
Administration
Administration
 
Posts: 13261
Joined: January 5th, 2004, 6:57 pm
Location: SoCal
Depends on the company. Most larger brands have designers doing some modeling in addition to having full-time 3d designers and sculptors. The surfacing is complex and has to take materials into account.

Re: What is it about shoes?????

Postby mo-i » September 6th, 2011, 4:01 am

User avatar

mo-i
full self-realization
full self-realization
 
Posts: 1138
Joined: November 30th, 2004, 5:46 am
Location: Germany
The attractiveness from a designer's perspective (not a student's as these probably wouldn't make much sense yet)

1 they are functional and emotional
2 they combine many different manufacturing techniques
4 their wearers generally care about their selection
5 they are one of the few relatively complex products that a single designer pretty much does on his or her own
6 there are many diverse functional performance problems tonsolve that vary by type
7 the marketplace so voraciously demands new designs that a designer can get a lot of product to market within a few years, experiment and take risks (if you can get away with it) and quickly learn from your mistakes
8 you get to see people enjoying your work publicly and get to use it yourself
9 there is a wide accepted aesthetic range to play with
10 designing footwear is pretty fun in general

*

There are some interesting points in Yos answer. I wondered about that shoe design thing myself, as I belonged to the school kids drawing cars not shoes. But shoes catched up on attention during the 80ies. It was a trend fueled by sports.
Baseball and skating. (Mostly skating.)

In change to the 70ies when shoes had to be neglected to be cool they suddenly became a sought after and highlighted
accessory and that is what they still are today. I'd like to add to Yos list:

11. There are only two forms of adornment that a man is alowed to wear proudly without looking gay:
Shoes and watches.

12. Shoes provide a means of self differentiation and self reflection to the customer as part of the wardrobe.
But most (young) men don't care about their zippers and jeans as much as they care about their sneakers.
(trend)

The main widely accessable means of self representation used to be the car, but in urban invironments the prevalence of privately held cars deminishes. Many 15 - 25 year olds in todays growth markets do not own a car and even worse do not strive to own a car. ( A fact, that deeply worries the car companies, that now try to reach those with alternative offerings
like e-scooters.)

So for me the shrinking significance of car design within the design community is a further sign of a cultural shift,
that is determined by "world culture" becoming more diverse and less USA centric. ( Europe after world war II was
very focused on the US... and the car craze was part of it.)

yours mo-i
I am not young enough to know everything.
Oscar Wilde

Re: What is it about shoes?????

Postby yo » September 6th, 2011, 9:06 am

User avatar

yo
Administration
Administration
 
Posts: 13261
Joined: January 5th, 2004, 6:57 pm
Location: SoCal
Good points. When I was a director at Comverse I hired a good friend who was a designer at Chrysler. He had just finishe working on the current Jeep Wrangler so I knew he was able to take an aesthetic that is born from a brand's functional DNA and reinterpret it in a way that is contemporary and relevant to today's cultural and functional needs. Anyway, I remember when he came in to footwear how struck he was by how important shoes are to guys, and remembering how before you can drive, they are one of the most important thing to a kid as a piece of self expression and a tribal indicator. He got a little obsessed with collecting shoes from our youth, particularly Bo Jackson's... And of course he went on to be a designer at Nike where he designed the Trainer 1.2, a modern performance trainer inspired by Bo Jackson's... Now that focus on shoes has changed a lot since the 80s an 90s. The biggest competitors to nice sneakers are phones... Which I now design a lot of ;-)

I think another part of the attraction is that footwear design is a pretty visible field of design. Brands like Nike talk about and emphasize design. Their internal design legends like Tinker Hatfield, Eric Avar, and Aaron Cooper, are frequently interviewed... Which lead to a younger generation like Richard and I being very accessible. Both automotive design and footwear are somewhat marginalized by organizations like the IDSA but they attract many students to design... Which I find interesting. Because of the style quotient, they both can be easy to dismiss, but a) developing cultural relevant aesthetics season after season is very difficult, and B) under that are so many functional considerations an manufacturing techniques that designing other products is actually not all that different if you put your mind to it.

Re: What is it about shoes?????

Postby rkuchinsky » September 6th, 2011, 10:58 am

User avatar
Online

rkuchinsky
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 5331
Joined: July 3rd, 2005, 9:20 am
Location: Toronto, Canada
I'd second all the points Yo made about why footwear can be great for designers.

For me the biggest points are that it is something that is both fashion and function, as well as the quick turnaround times keep it always exciting. You know there is a new season coming soon, so it forces you to not dwell too much on one design as there is always another shoe to do. A common saying in footwear is that "you are only as good as your last collection".

For students, I think part of the interest aside from being interesting and emotional objects is that the parameters are relatively well defined (ie. basic construction techniques, shape of foot, etc.) so there is at the same time more and less freedom in design. This keeps the focus and scope of a footwear design project manageable, unlike say, hi tech, where you have to also consider components, UI, UX, etc. Depending on the project, you can pick one aspect (ie. style or cushioning) to explore and still get a relatively complete project out of it quickly.

In many ways it is similar to automotive design, where styling is a big part, but also can focus on certain elements (ie. storage, compact size, interior layout, etc.).

Unlike automotive, I think footwear is a lot more accessible to students as well as there is a greater chance to get into the industry as there are lots of small and medium brands and while it is difficult, it is achievable and perhaps more rewarding as you have a chance to actually make a complete product. If you are an intern at a car company, (or even a relatively senior designer), chances are that your complete vision for a product will become something even a concept car is pretty slim.

I could probably go on forever. Footwear is one of those industries that for the most part, once you are in, you are in. I think Yo is the only person I know ever to leave footwear. That said, it's also one that attracts people from a lot of different backgrounds and allows them to be successful and on an even playing field. I know people from graphics, architecture, ID, fashion, etc. that have all come into footwear design.

R
Richard Kuchinsky / Directive Creator
http://www.rkuchinsky.com

The Directive Collective
http://www.directivecollective.com

Re: What is it about shoes?????

Postby mo-i » September 6th, 2011, 11:41 am

User avatar

mo-i
full self-realization
full self-realization
 
Posts: 1138
Joined: November 30th, 2004, 5:46 am
Location: Germany
I could probably go on forever. Footwear is one of those industries that for the most part, once you are in, you are in.

*
This one reminded me of my late granddad, who wasn't able to go back to teaching full time when he came out of
russian captivity. He was hired by a local shoemaker, who knew he was a talented woodworker. So he was able to
keep the family afloat while doing drafts and lasts. It was one of the few regrets of his life, that he had to turn down
the offer to stay in "shoemaking" when he was clear to a head a school again.

He loved making shoes, but at the beginning of the 1950ies it was very visibly time for industrialisation in shoemaking
not the time to set off with a one man shop... Later he loved to show his grandsons the artefacts of his ancient shoe making,
though. (Try that when having been a day trader.)

mo-i



mo-i
I am not young enough to know everything.
Oscar Wilde

Re: What is it about shoes?????

Postby nxakt » September 7th, 2011, 12:57 am

User avatar

nxakt
full self-realization
full self-realization
 
Posts: 972
Joined: March 15th, 2010, 5:11 am
Location: Central Shanghai
Was reminded of Superbad by the thread title, but upon review of the elements, it was just too raunchy.

tarngerine wrote:What about the lack of 3D modeling? Does that play a role? (Unless there is 3D modeling, then I'd like to learn what it is!)

I think you are right on target. Static views and a common outline allow development of themes. The state of the art, handwork, still seems* accessible from the outside or entry level, whereas the level of automobile sketching in combination with current 3D rendering is a much higher jump. (always was, but more now)

Image
Image

mo-i wrote:11. There are only two forms of adornment that a man is alowed to wear proudly without looking gay:
Shoes and watches.

12. Shoes provide a means of self differentiation and self reflection to the customer as part of the wardrobe.
But most (young) men don't care about their zippers and jeans as much as they care about their sneakers.
(trend)

I think they care as much about the clothes, just the designing of soft goods gets dangerously close to your point number 11.

mo-i wrote:The main widely accessable means of self representation used to be the car, but in urban invironments the prevalence of privately held cars deminishes. Many 15 - 25 year olds in todays growth markets do not own a car and even worse do not strive to own a car. ( A fact, that deeply worries the car companies, that now try to reach those with alternative offerings
like e-scooters.)

moi's noted rise of urban identity and identification is also 50% of the equation.

rkuchinsky wrote:For me the biggest points are that it is something that is both fashion and function, as well as the quick turnaround times keep it always exciting. You know there is a new season coming soon, so it forces you to not dwell too much on one design as there is always another shoe to do. A common saying in footwear is that "you are only as good as your last collection".

The style and brand churn cycle is a challenge for the creative youth to try and anticipate or catalog. It brings pen to paper.

mo-i wrote:
I could probably go on forever. Footwear is one of those industries that for the most part, once you are in, you are in.

*
This one reminded me of my late granddad, who wasn't able to go back to teaching full time when he came out of
russian captivity. He was hired by a local shoemaker, who knew he was a talented woodworker. So he was able to
keep the family afloat while doing drafts and lasts. It was one of the few regrets of his life, that he had to turn down
the offer to stay in "shoemaking" when he was clear to a head a school again.

He loved making shoes, but at the beginning of the 1950ies it was very visibly time for industrialisation in shoemaking
not the time to set off with a one man shop... Later he loved to show his grandsons the artefacts of his ancient shoe making,
though. (Try that when having been a day trader.)

mo-i

Nice imagery. Trying to restore more of that sense of craft and artifact in my own work and process.

*deceptively

Re: What is it about shoes?????

Postby shoenista » September 9th, 2011, 6:58 am

User avatar

shoenista
full self-realization
full self-realization
 
Posts: 753
Joined: July 31st, 2005, 5:52 pm
Location: On my boat
Unlike automotive, I think footwear is a lot more accessible to students as well as there is a greater chance to get into the industry as there are lots of small and medium brands and while it is difficult, it is achievable and perhaps more rewarding as you have a chance to actually make a complete product. If you are an intern at a car company, (or even a relatively senior designer), chances are that your complete vision for a product will become something even a concept car is pretty slim.

There is a DIY element. It's amazing how many designers I know that have gone back to hand making.

As a student, I would often handmake my own shoes outside of Uni time for fun. We would take in shoe repairs from friends. It's not like you can make your own driveable car, is it? Even if you're not a student of footwear, with a bit of digging about on the net and a few tools you could do the same.

I could probably go on forever. Footwear is one of those industries that for the most part, once you are in, you are in.


I will be doing this when I'm 80 (I hope!) I know designers that are in their seventies and still working!

Re: What is it about shoes?????

Postby AmplifiedCarpet » September 10th, 2011, 4:23 am


AmplifiedCarpet
step one
step one
 
Posts: 48
Joined: February 1st, 2010, 7:31 am
mo-i wrote:
11. There are only two forms of adornment that a man is alowed to wear proudly without looking gay:


1. Really? That's quite a grand statement

and 2. I really hope you're not a native english speaker because that sounds amazingly ignorant.

Re: What is it about shoes?????

Postby Lmo » September 19th, 2011, 11:24 am

User avatar

Lmo
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 3879
Joined: January 20th, 2004, 5:29 pm
Location: Pismo Beach, CA
Why, may I ask, exactly, does that "sound so amazingly ignorant"?

And what does English have to do with it?
Lew Morris
"It's what you discover, after you know it all, that counts." _ John Wooden

New to the boards? Please read before you post ->Discussion Boards Posting Standards

Re: What is it about shoes?????

Postby davidwhetstone » September 19th, 2011, 4:56 pm

User avatar

davidwhetstone
step four
step four
 
Posts: 236
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 5:14 pm
Location: Portland, OR
The last two plus years I've had the opportunity to design watches for Nixon. It's been a BLAST. Many of the points mentioned about footwear are also what has made watches so enjoyable.

There is something so special about designing products that people use as a personal expression of self. It is what drives me to sweat each detail. I know that a watch will be visible to the wearer almost at all times throughout a day. I never want him/her to think, I wish "this" was a little different. In designing something so personal I feel truly challenged to make sure everything is just right. I recently saw a short customer review of a watch I designed. It said something like, "I bought this watch for my boyfriend and it was perfect for him." It was an amazing feeling for me to learn that there really was a HIM. I love to think about the time someone goes into a store, searches through the noise, sees something I designed and says, "I want THAT one, it's most ME." AMAZING thought.

Generally all watches are the same. They are circle or square and 30-50 mm. It is what you do within that real estate that makes a design special. Lately I've been challenged to do many classic inspired watches for Nixon. I've had to really zoom in to understand how a double stitched band vs. a single stitched band changes the tone of the product. Can a classic watch be "toughened up" with raw x-stitches? These are questions I get to ask myself each day. I see this in footwear too. Shoes are shoes. It is the care that is taken in the detailing that is the differentiator. One shoe sells out and the other stays on the shelf.

Finally, I am so interested in the blur between industrial design and fashion design. As a really young kid I would go watch the best local high school basketball teams. I was always so interested in how different teams wore their warm-ups or even folded their socks. This led to an interest to fashion design and ultimately helped me discover industrial design. I think footwear is a unique space in that it truly lives in this "between space." I've got many years in front of me, but as of now, I realize I am so lucky to be designing in this lifestyle space. At some point I'd love to apply my industrial design process to apparel design and hope I have the opportunity to design footwear somewhere along the way.

4 their wearers generally care about their selection
5 they are one of the few relatively complex products that a single designer pretty much does on his or her own
7 the marketplace so voraciously demands new designs that a designer can get a lot of product to market within a few years, experiment and take risks (if you can get away with it) and quickly learn from your mistakes
8 you get to see people enjoying your work publicly and get to use it yourself
9 there is a wide accepted aesthetic range to play with
12 shoes provide a means of self differentiation and self reflection to the customer as part of the wardrobe.

Thanks for reading.

D.

Re: What is it about shoes?????

Postby AmplifiedCarpet » September 20th, 2011, 3:54 am


AmplifiedCarpet
step one
step one
 
Posts: 48
Joined: February 1st, 2010, 7:31 am
Lmo wrote:Why, may I ask, exactly, does that "sound so amazingly ignorant"?

And what does English have to do with it?


Ok, I'm going to answer those questions althought I'm pretty sure those must be rhetorical.

It sounds ignorant because " There are only two forms of adornment that a man is alowed to wear proudly without looking gay: Shoes and watches."

Why would you compare it with looking gay? Is something wrong with looking gay or is he using it as a substitute for looking silly? In either case this use of language is ignorant. And beside that point, shoes are not an adornment and who is it that 'allows' us only to wear shoes and a watch. And if you wear them 'proudly' then I could see that being gay before anything else:)

And english has to do with it in the sense that if your not a native speaker you wouldn't be held up to the same standards of understanding subtleties and nuances in a language and are therefore excused for ignorant stuff.

I was surprised no one else said something about this teenager speak. I assumed we were all adults here who appreciate appropriate behaviour.

Now, let's get back to the topic.

Re: What is it about shoes?????

Postby dziner82 » October 13th, 2011, 9:32 am


dziner82
step four
step four
 
Posts: 578
Joined: June 4th, 2008, 6:43 pm
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
tarngerine wrote:What about the lack of 3D modeling? Does that play a role? (Unless there is 3D modeling, then I'd like to learn what it is!)



that was a big one for me! as yo mentioned, its definitely a part of the industry now, but usually handled by someone other than the 'primary' designer of the shoe. Imo because its more time consuming(?).

fully agree with most all the other points mentioned as well.

One of my good friends in another field of design is always talking about how he wishes he could have as much input/control over the final design of his products as i do. One designer taking a product through the cycle as mentioned, vs a team of 5-10 people designing something. Although not all places are like this, there are lots of positions out there where you can just specialize in color or materials.


Return to footwear & softgoods

©2014 Core77, Inc. All rights reserved
about | contact us | advertise | mailing list