Furniture Inspired Footwear - ON GOING PROJECT

Much more interesting than that rendering. That rendering is total fiction.

Eman, some things to think about:
What if the triangle are different sizes, smaller wher more flex is needed, larger she more rigidity is needed.
Do they have to be triangles? Do they need to be equalatteral triangles?

Really awesome prototype. I would buy that.

Don´t forget about the colors of wood itself. Ash and nut or something like that gives a beautiful contrast. With the triangles or such patterns you could make some very interesting forms and gradients without much trouble.

Eman, I dig that you are running this selfinititated project and I think your starting point and inspiration is pretty cool.

I would maybe warn though that it doesn’t just become a Roshe CMF project. It is so close to the original sneaker.

You could probably challenge the form and functional bit more and possible utilize the specific qualities of bent ply in the sneaker.

Agree, I’m going to sketch a few of these style concept out this week. And try and finalize a final direction soon.

As I was building this, I started just applying them in a certain pattern (to keep it interesting during the 10 hour build time) and got this idea as well. Really want to try some cool effects with different colored woods after this project is over.

Completely agree. This was meant more as a proof of concept that wood on a sneaker would work/resonate with other and that it would actually work. Plus I learned a little bit about this particular prototyping process a bit more.

Going to try and figure out a way to really push it a bit more out there. With this project the hardest thing Ive come across is trying differentiate between the inspiration ideas. The idea of the Eames as a form inspiration and the idea of Eames as a process inspiration. The ideal solution would be 50/50 split. But easier said than done.

Took a few thumbnails I had in my sketchbook and blew them up a tad bit. Exploring how to make this wooden textile idea a bit more interesting as well as how to make it relate a bit back more to the Eames. Although a bit more subtle in execution.

On concept B. Maybe the wooden textile is on a wooden colored backer. Making it read more like a full veener sheet from a distance as opposed to the individual shapes. Then using a contrasting color between the panels for that shape break up.

Interesting project. Props on the prototyping, but for me, it’s not showing as much as I think you could. Not much design happening as you are using an existing silhouette. Not much technical as I don’t really see a functional solution to adhering the wood using real life production methods. The wood is “eames” but aside from that I’m not really getting an overall feel of the chair aesthetic nor the functional use of the material (to allow flex in the chair, and the moulding process to allow a 3d shape) the original defined. Sketch some more. Free yourself from constraints.

I’d urge you to push it further. Don’t worry about what you can prototype. Don’t worry about the the roshe as a starting point. I think you’ve got a lot of skills but they aren’t being shown in this current project scope. As it stands, I don’t know if it’s a project I would longer on much in a portfolio.

Hope this is as constructive as it’s meant to be. I see you are putting in a lot of time an effort. I know you can do great things. Show me.


I echo Richard’s sentiments. Why have the quarter overlay at all? Why not gradate the size of the wood pieces? What happens when you take the same flex story ino the outsole/midsole like Nike diamond flex? Push much farther. I could think of 10 totally different thumbnail concepts right now. You can do it. Forget the Roshe. It served its purpose as a proof of concept.

A quick idea for you.

I definitely agree with R and others about steering this away from the Roshe platform. Especially since the Roshe Metrics already exists you’re not going to impress many industry people by just doing a slightly cooler version in wood.

I feel strongly that you should totally build this. In fact I think you almost have to in order for it to be cool .

You said at the beginning of the project that hot renders of crazy concepts are a dime a dozen (the Ora-Ito Eames concept is a perfect example) so ground this in the reality of the materials you are working with and I guarantee the project will be more interesting.

Charles and Ray Eames arrived at the solutions they did because they were actively playing and experimenting in the physical world. They were continuously prototyping to find the limits of wood and what they could achieve with it. That’s what made their work so iconic and long lasting, and what most people appreciate the most of their design process. They would not have arrived at the same solutions without building, and I think the same will be true for your project.

I’ve been watching from the sidelines on this one, trying to figure it out a bit… I’m currently working in furniture (currently sitting in a DCM even) and have always dug shoes and love your first post in this thread… but

It feels to me like you are trying really hard to put wood on some shoes, and most of the applications seem to be in a mostly decorative manor. The Eameses molded plywood because it was the right material and process for what they were trying to solve, they explored it deeply and pushed the material and processes around it. They experimented and innovated in other materials too, they weren’t about wood, but the right material and process. Fundamentally I am failing to see where and how any of these ideas are a good application for wood… to that point I think Flyknits are a great example of how the Eames may have used materials and process understanding to solve problems in footwear, this just feels real flat to me right now, I’ve seen you on here for years now, you can do better. If it’s a styling exercise around wood or similar, that’s okay too, but doesn’t seem to address your initial thoughts. Be honest with where you’re headed and execute accordingly.


I also get that this is you bearing your process in public for the world to see and appreciate that.

Wood is inherently a horrible material for a shoe unless you are making a wooden clog. I think pieces like it has to be used to do what you want it will chip, it will crack, it will be inconsistent, it will peal off. Basically a welded synthetic material would do what you want with much more reliability.

Ricky is right. The Eames were pioneers in molded ply, but also fiberglass and other composited. They were experimenting with cutting edge materials (molded ply was super high tech pre WWII when they started messing with it) that were inspired by the application.

Now it has become a “look” of course which is totally fine, but is it right for this. I was surprised how much pr hear that render above got. Says something as well as to the cultural resonance I suppose.

Yes to the posts by Ricky and Michael. Exactly what I was trying to say. If eames is your inspiration, follow the philosophy and reason behind the design. Not the design itself. Otherwise might just print a photo of a chair on a chuck and call it a day.

+1 also to Yo’s comment about wood and footwear. If it’s there, there should be a reason for it.


stream of conscious coming

Ricky - I agree, the original idea behind this project was to make something inspired by the idea/process of Eames, not necessarily an aesthetic tribute. My initial thought was to - re interpret wood again using cutting edge technology. This is my mind essentially boiled down to laser cutting wood (since laser cutting/3D printing seem to be the cutting edge technology now). And applying it to a medium that it hasn’t been really explored in (footwear). But maybe I need to take the idea of cutting edge technology and apply it to footwear itself, not the material. :exclamation:

I don’t want it too feel like like I’m throwing wood on a shoe, but I might have pigeon holed myself by focusing a bit too much on the prototype. Gonna take a step back and go back to thumbnails and raw ideas for the next round. I haven’t thrown up too many sketches, so I’ll change that.

However, I still want it to feel somewhat tied to the inspiration, but I may step away from literal inspiration. I don’t want to do something that so off base aesthetic wise that its hard to tie back to the inspiration. But maybe that’s a bridge I’ll cross if I get to it. No need to worry about it now.

There’s the easy way and the right way. Might have been taking the easy way for the last few rounds.

As for showing the process part. Its a combo of a lot of things.

  1. Number 1. It holds me accountable to make progress. However small it may be. (today I had soccer practice after work and am dead tired, but figured I’d at least respond to this and do something)
  2. There’s lots of great feedback on the Forum and I like the pressure everyone gives me to do better. Plus wear else am I going to get this level of feedback. I’ve got CDOs, Creative Directors, Consultancy owners, Senior designers, design managers, People from every side of the industry chiming in. It’s crazy we don’t see more students around here.
  3. Maybe showing my progress will help some student out in the future when there trying to figure out how to structure there projects.
  4. Its like a journal. Its cool to look back and see old project threads and walk through my thought process years later. I know my chair project and senior thesis are somewhere on here.

Great take away. Best of luck. Stumbling at first and changing direction is better than plowing ahead with blissful happiness. If it feels uncomfortable, you are doing something right.


Wanted to get this idea out before heading out for the night. Slated this long weekend to work on this project

Really dig this idea of kerf bending plywood. And ties back to using back modern technology to influence traditional materials.

Thought it would be cool to combine that with wooden midsole. But have the kerf pattern be much bigger. The pattern would be cut out of the bottom to allow it to flex. While a rubber midsole/outsole would come through the pattern and allow you not walk on wood. Similar to the Zvezdochka.

The whole design would need finessing, but the main idea is there.

I feel like we’re say why wood?
and you’re saying, here’s some wood.

I also wonder if wood could ever have a decent application in footwear, then I thought maybe you shouldn’t focus on performance footwear / athletic footwear. Maybe there’s a women’s shoe type that could leverage wood in some way where it was beneficial on more than simply a surface aesthetic level. Maybe you could use molded ply or the laser-kerf to make a nice looking compliant and dematerialized sole? idk

I guess if I were you, first question to ask would be why wood? If the answer is … because… Eames, you’re not there yet…

Fully intend to do non wood concepts. But this was lingering in my head from last time. So I threw it down.
Also don’t think the shoe has to be a performance piece at all, but more of a fashion statement. A quick strike type release.

As for wood I like the idea of taking a non traditional material, using a new technique and applying it to footwear. But that isn’t limited to wood.

That’s an okay position to take, but seems different than the Eames heritage you are aspiring to. The material wasn’t about fashion, it was about utility. I also wouldn’t brand it Nike in that case, choose more of a fashion brand, or create your own brand around it.

So I spent the majority of these past few days, just doodling in my sketchbook trying to play around with a main ideas.
Put together a few directions. Most of these concepts are based around a rigid support structure enclosing a softer core.

1. Wrapped Sandle
Thought this was an interesting idea. Could we use a single piece of leather or even ply to create the main base for a shoe?
Cut, bend, straps. Done. There is room here to develop it further, with a plus nice leather insole and rubber out sole. Although not sure I’d want to complicate it.

2. Rigid Bootie
When sketching the last concept, I thought it would be cool to get away from sneaker executions and see if I could use the idea of panels to support the foot, to do something a bit different. There’s a lot of opportunity here as well, just need to flush out the aesthetic more. These panels would hug the heel and the top of the foot, essentially forming a more rigid bootie construction. Kept thinking about how ski-boots and motocross boots, sorta lock you in.

3. 3D Printed Rigidity

From the last concept sorta transitioned into this idea of using 3D printing to provide structural support to a softer interior of the shoe. Would the current trendy faceted 3D printed skeletonized panels work? Would it be too futuristic in aesthetic, Kinda went back to the idea of the kerf-ed wood. Would that principle applied to 3D printed parts allot for a bit more flexibility? How does that aesthetic, blend with the soft curves of the Eames lounge?

4. Wooden outsole
Y’all have already seen this, but just wanted to put it together with the other concepts. A take of the previous idea, using molded ply to create the midsole/outsole of shoe. Or in place of what would normally be a rigid plastic part.

Going to continue exploring a bit, but wanted to get this up and see what the initial thoughts are. I really like concept 1 and may spend a bit of time seeing if I can refine it a bit later tonight.

Side note, the tiny doodles are my actual level of ideation sketches, the larger ones are sketchbook pro and are overlayed at least once. Just a heads up in case any one was wondering what my thinking sketches look like. They’re not glamorous, but they work for me. All done with a Hi-Tech C 0.5mm

Digging the exploration. Why not explore outside of athletic footwear?
Wood clogs are super popular among the culinary field… up front they are unbelievable uncomfortable, but as they wear then begin to shape a bit more to your feet. Most chefs are full of personalities (and tats) and on their feet for 10+ hours a day…that industry needs some serious design love.

I like the idea of using different shape and size triangles from Yo - Have you thought about a veneer? that would allow you a bit more versatility in shape.

Have fun with it!