Prospectiv footwear project

Hey guys,

I’m currently doing my final project at university and I have to think about what will be footwear in 10 years. I just wanted to come here and start a discussion of some kind and maybe brainstorm a bit about your vision of footwear in 10 years regarding trends, materials, technologies, aesthetics, etc.

Thanks guys for your input.


kick it off…

Sure thing Yo!

Well I’m presently in the research phase for my project and my main problematic is to conceive sustainable outdoor footwear in a 10 year prospectiv context. Trying to imagine what will footwear be in 10 years can be quite tricky, especialy with all the vintage stufff out there these days. So basically, I’m trying to imagine what footwear will be in 10 years.

  • How much more sustainable will they be? In which way?
  • What kind of new technology integrations will there be?
  • What kind of materials will be used?
  • Is the outdoor market going to have the same needs 10 years from now?
  • Will there be more demand for customization?

It’s stuff like that that’s going through my mind right now… any thoughts on that would be appreciated.

I don’t know if you’ve seen these,

an entirely rapid manufactured shoe

a customisable football boot,

10 years out… I think can be stronger story-development process to show a timeline. start 5-10-20 years out. So you can begin a concept(s) and show how it would progress over years, etc.

GHarvey-you have listed questions, do you have any thoughts on them? any one of them jump out to you as one you would want to begin working on?

my quick 1cent on them

  1. don’t know if a majority of footwear now is sustainable, so as the industries begins to become greener or begin to become green I think something you could work on is defining what it means to be green. like if you use 30% recycled materials would that be green? I think researching and setting a bar to work off of would be a great start here. and from this will help you answer your second part of this question which was the different ways.

  2. technologies take time to develop and test. most technologies are not revolutions but evolutions of existing technologies. For new tech I think you will need to understand what techs are out now what is working not working and focusing on a particular sport. Now sport aside you could take it to a everyday casual tech, not focused on active sports, and that could take you in a different direction, were you possibly study peoples daily habits and conditions, environments (study past couple years to see a trend to be able to consider the future here)

  3. materials^

  4. outdoor market needs? have they changed last 10 years? with so much of our environments changing to city blocks maybe there needs are for just a place to use the outdoor gear…should be more open minded

  5. customization…what can’t you customize these days?

how long do you have for your project, keep that in mind and try to map out the time with a schedule. It happens to some where they research and end up with a week left to formulate and design, and it sometimes is a miss, meaning they did all the work but it just doesn’t come out in the work.

be well


Some thoughts…

  1. will footwear actually change that much in 10 years? Has it changed much in the last 10 years?

  2. will the change be driven by technological advancements or more by Geo/political/environmental/resource issue?


  1. Construction or fashion/trend?


I am a recent grad and still have many friends still in school that are currently working on a similar project. I think one thing to think about is that this is a very popular subject right now. Everything is going green and is becoming more sustainable.

So maybe look at the project differently. Start a list of everything that is out there that you notice. Right down positive comments and negative comments. By doing this it will help you find the hole in the market that you want to focus on. By bringing your thoughts and emotions into the project it will give the outcome not only a very distinct feel but also a very personal answer that people will id with you.

By journaling what you do it will make your answers come easier because you always have something to come back and relate too and make sure you are answering the key problems that you noticed.

This sounds like a good project that will show who you are as a designer but because it is a popular subject make sure you do something different.

Not just in the way of construction but maybe its how the shoe is passed on. Recycling does not always have to be so literal. If you think about the typical shoe market people always get a new shoe a year. I.E. New school shoes; new sports shoes; always new. How can you update the shoe? Maybe that could also be a part of the personalization? It would be really interesting to see the reuse of the boxes of the shoe and not just the shoe. The key question to me is what kind of a second life do you visualize for the product?

The hard thing about most student projects is that you end up doing a lot more telling of what the project is. Most students don’t have access to a production piece so you make models doing the best to mimic what you were thinking. I.E. How can you tell that this shoe is green without saying it is?

Look at your project more like what you can tell and show. Your project will then prove itself more to your peers and teachers on its own without you having to say what it is and what it does. I believe the key thing about being a designer is taking advantage of what you have around you and bringing that life into your product.

When I was working on my thesis I felt like I had to solve the world’s footwear problems. While I think the project was succesful. I feel it would have been better if I focused on what I can do and prove at the time of the project and not so much what if I had the capabilities of building this. Future employers know that you’re a student so take advantage of showing what you can do with what you have.

That’s my suggestion.

Great discussion guys, thanks. I’ll comment more when I have a few minutes. Just to keep you in context, I have from september to may to complete the project and it is with a footwear company so I do have the resources to some extent. On the managing aspects, I do have a few internship experiences in the sports industry so I know how the process works. I’m trying to find out more how you see things as designers in 10 years and most of the questions you’ve asked have passed through my mind at some point. Things like:

  • Will footwear have changed in 10 years? Maybe not drasticaly but probably sustainability will be more standard among products and more infrastructures will be there to support them. Technical integrations will also keep on adding up and may be promising for the outdoors. (GPS, energy recuperation, visual imputs, etc)

  • The after life of the shoes and the hole life cycle is also to be considered like some of you pointed out. So yes I will think of packaging, production, infrastructures, etc.

  • Yes outdoor activities have evolved the last 10 years and will keep on evolving. Right now we can see that lowcut shoes are replacing hiking boots. The emergence of hybrid water shoes/sandals is also another good example. What will be next?

The biggest thing at this point like some of you said is to really point out what specific kind of shoes I want to make and also determine the next step in sustainable footwear, more the just green materials.

At first I was thinking of doing some sort of hybrid outdoor/casual lifestyle shoe that you can adapt to different activities. But now I’m maybe thinking of focusing on a more technical, eco-friendly hiking concept.

I know a big aspect I want to focus on and that hasn’t been covered that much is modularity that could eliminate the needs for glues, stitches, facilitate recuperation and fixing, allow easier customization, adapt to different needs, etc.

I know right now this is all a big mess and that’s because I want to explore and keep my options opened :slight_smile:


hmmmm modularity.

Always seems to get a mention when poeple start talking about susainability. I’ve seen a lot of design exercises and modular concepts. Have there ever been any successful modular products? :neutral_face: (sunglasses with interchangeable lenses? Popswatch?)

Why would you want modular footwear? For a shoe’s uses to be so different that they require modification (beyond some possible colour changing stripes, funtionally), would that modifation not be so severe that you might as well have a different pair?

putting some thoughts out there…

That’s the goal with this exercice, thanks :slight_smile: