Air Filter Shoe Concept

This is a project from the fall semester for a sketching class. The design was to be “inside out” showing how the product works. I choose to create a new product; a shoe that filters the air. At the top of the shoe sits an intake vent. As the user walks/runs pumps on the sole pump air through the filters and out the back of the shoe.

I would love to hear some feedback.

Nice quick project. Good layouts. I like the exploded view the best. You’ve got some nice skills.

Here are a few things to work on:

  1. proportions, the heel is falling forward a bit, the collar line is a bit high for a low cut, the instep a bit thick. Outsole could have a sexier shape (swoosh tail should always be at the back by the way, unless there is a very good reason).

  2. Form continuity. A lot of contradicting form language going on, especially in the outsole. Design your negative space more. In the lateral you have several arching shapes, 2 triangulated rubber pieces, some kind of a dashed line element, a wavy top line, and 5 oval segments. The outsole introduces squares as well into the equation. Bring these together under a single theme.

  3. materials, remember shoes are soft. Would a mesh panel on the top work better than a molded plastic protrusion to vent? Look at the Nike

  4. fit, how do you get in and out and adjust the fit with no laces?


Thanks for the compliments and criticisms.

  1. The proportions are something that I was working on with this project. I can definitely see the parts that you are pointing out. This is something that I think it is harder to spot while designing. In the future these will be things I keep in mind.

I am not sure what “s3x shape” refers to. Can you help me with that?

Also, I though swooshes at the sole always were in the classic Nike direction, thanks. I had referred to a pair of Flight '89 I have and that is how the swoosh appears on them.

  1. In terms of form continuity, would you say sticking to one language is the way to go? Or is it just limiting and marrying what you find appropriate? I do see that this shoe may be a little all over the place…

  2. I felt the plastic would be a way to help lock down the foot. Maybe a harder foam would achieve that better? “Look at the Nike”?

  3. That kind of brings me to the fit. The tightness I actually thought would be controlled at the back of the shoe with the Velcro strap. I felt that maybe the elastic at the front would allow for different fits at the top of the foot. Then, as I said earlier, the vent would actually be molded to the foot. Looking at it now, I see that probably a little ambitious because there is very little adjustment. Maybe redesigning the vent would allow for more options.

Thanks again Yo, and I will hopefully be able to revisit this project in the near future. I would love to hear what other people think as well.

I’m not a designer, but I’m working on better understanding shoe construction, fit, and materials.

-Yo made a great point by mentioning possible fit issues. In my experiences, I haven’t been a fan of straps, a cage (see Presto Cage), or a pump taking sole responsibility for augmenting or providing a stable fit. If I were to advertise this as a running/training shoe, I think it’d be best to add in a set of laces…If you’re bent on keeping your product laceless, I think adding in a full-length forefoot innersleeve would be helpful in dispersing mesh, and help augment fit through the midfoot and forefoot.

-I’d caution you against using velcro on high-performance training and basketball shoes. Reason is, velcro loses it’s “stick” over time, and without solid fit at the forefoot, it’s imperative your shoe has awesome fit out back…Your heel fit might be inevitably impaired with a velcro implementation.

-Otherwise, your design is nicely refined. I really like the lines, form, and overall flow of your shoe. Nice job.


Thank you for your input. I will definitely post some possible solutions, in terms of the fit of the shoe. I am not sure what you mean by " full-length forefoot innersleeve". Is this the same as an “inner bootie”? That is kinda of what I tried to do with this shoe. The light blue parts of the upper are where the “bootie” is exposed.

Also, your comments about Velcro are well taken. When it is used, it does seem to be a more secondary fit system. I can definitely agree with the fact that Velcro does lose its grip fairly quickly. I have a pair of Nike Free Trainer 5.0 where the Velcro at the front stopped sticking after about two months of use.

one other thing to consider… unless the user is full-out short-distance sprinting, the foot lands heel, then toe. not too big of a deal for the assignment, which demonstrates your proficient sketching ability, but worth looking at if you care to develop the idea further for portfolio work, etc.



It is true that when casually jogging your foot tends to land heel to toe, but other than that most runners, long distance runners to sprinters, are taught to land flat footed or on their toes. The lower right drawing is a little miss leading though. It might have been more clear if the first position looked more like the heel of the shoe approaching the ground.

Thanks for the input and the compliments. I am definitely working to improve the project for the future.

Laces? We don’t need no stinkin laces.

I love this concept. So many times people look at sustainability as designing products that are inert, why not make one that makes a positive impression. Awesome.

I’d change up the medial side of the shoe, the medial side of the foot is different why treat it the same?

Thanks for the comments robertcj. I kind of thought of it the same way, “positive impression”.

As for the fit system, I am always looking for lace alternatives…
I will also look into revamping the treatment of the medial.

Here are some quick sketches looking at the proportion and form language.



i like the medial/lateral asymmetry idea. you proportion/form however is really off.

check it against some other sketches here on the boards, or photos of shoes such the nike Free/Prestos you were comparing (although be careful sketching off a photo, it normally isnt 100% accurate because of lens warp/position).

your collar line looks a bit high, even with a bootie construction, and the area on top of the foot is for sure fatter than it should be. heel also looks a bit slanted forward compared to reality, but this is normally something thats fine to add a bit a style/dynamism to a sketch and shouldnt throw things off too much.

also, in terms of the asymmetry, i think you might have it backwards. normally, with asymmetric shoes, the lacing is on the lateral side. if you look at your nekid foot from the top, you’ll see that the bone that runs down the middle is actually more off to the medial side, so there is greater flat area for lacing on the lateral. the Nike Footscape also shows this well (one of the first asymmetrically laced shoes).

nice linework though ,and interesting concept. personally, i’d like to see you push it a bit further stylistically than the Free/presto aesthetics, and explore the fit/air thing if it is indeed the core of the concept.


Sorry, that was our hyperactive spam and language filter self editing me… I was trying to say the bottom view should have a s-e-xier shape, but it didn’t get through…

Everything should hang together and look like it belongs. Don’t throw every trick in the book on your first shoe, same a little for the next one…

Sorry, got distracted and didn’t finish my thought. You wouldn’t ever want plastic on top of your foot like that. The foot flexed a lot, the plastic would pinch your foot and alow for minimal fit adjustment. Feet vary a huge amount in width and girth within a single size. The shoe needs to adjust in this area of the foot, not in the back. You want to adhere the bottom of the shoe to the bottom of the foot, not close up the opening around the ankle. One shoe to look at would be the Jordan LX 2, visually it has just a strap at the top, but the strap internal cris-crosses like a Puma Monstro (another good laceless one to look at)

Good start, keep going!

Still working on the fit/closure system, but here are some more sketches exploring proportion and aesthetic.

I did a quicky based on what you posted last. I left them very loose for you to find your own direction. The silhouette should look like I want to try the item on…comfy.

By all means disregard this if you feel,

Here are a few runner studies I did , only in pencil but they came out pretty good. I’m not sure of the style of shoe you are going for but I kinda get a runner feeling. I hope any of these help, keep up the very cool work and project.

Here are a few runner studies I did , only in pencil but they came out pretty good. I’m not sure of the style of shoe you are going for but I kinda get a runner feeling. I hope any of these help, keep up the very cool work and project.

Here is the revision of this project for the Kicksguide freestyle comp. I know it still needs some work, but I feel the look/feel and the proportions are getting closer. My goal is to create a running shoe, with the focus on the technology of filtering the air. This design still uses a similar system to the original, only now the bootie has become the filter. The bootie is washable and biodegradable so it can be replaced. I figured that would be a better way to integrate it into the design. The aesthetic returns to some of my original sketches alluding to the gills of a shark. I would love some feedback. I have also posted some of the colorways that I was working with. I decided to brand it with my own brand, SoleSTICE.

i too have a design inspired by a shark.

cant say that it was a serious design tho…

I like your thinking here…I think you could push your story a little more. Maybe this shoe is for those who choose to run, walk, or ride a bike rather than pay big dollas at the pump. By not using a motorized vehicle they are not adding to the pollution+the benefit of trying to do something to help by this filter idea. Who are they? Where do they live? What do they do? Also, what else might the shoe be for them if they are on their feet a lot since they dont drive?..

Also, what might else the shoe be used for…can u use the filter tech in the event of an emergency?? Take it out and get ur gas mask going…I see more potential for that kind of an application if you spin it right.

Don’t intend to change your project…just thinking.

Nice one Throwback! haha

Thanks jm745,

I guess the story does need to be developed a little more, but I do not this I would go as far as using the shoe for another totally unrelated application. That seems kind of convoluted to me. Exploring the wearer or user would definitely help the story. It was originally for a sketching class, but I think I have gotten myself into a much longer project.