Thesis Project

I decided to resist the temptation to do another basketball/ running/ training concept and challenge myself with an activity I knew little about, Parkour. Below is the board I displayed for my BFA show, I will be posting the process of my thesis after graduation. As usual, feel free to tear it apart and let me know what I can do to improve!

Hey Bart, I’ve got a bunch of thoughts on this, I haven’t had time to put them all together, but I’m hoping to do a couple of overlays this week for you.

I’d be curious to see some of your research into the functional needs as well as the culture of Parkour.

OK, I had some time to think about this, and I wanted to do a quick overlay to visually explain what I’m thinking. Today was the first I got. Check out this attachment and let me know what you think. Overall, I think you have a lot of great elements, but none of them talk to one another. It needs to be brought together as a cohesive product, and every decision must be designed, from the overall gesture, to the cross sections in the midsole. I always look at the details, and right now the details feel a little under-thought. What does the turn ring look like? Should the traction really just stop in straight lines across the bottom? Should the hexagon traction elements just get cut off or should the be resolved with a border? Should those flex lines in the top of the midsole be just straight, or should they be engineered to work more with the foot? Does that extra triangle of rubber toward the heel really need to be there? Things like that…

And then just take a look at your overall silhouette. There could be more definition between the toe and the midfoot, and a little more arc to the back of the heel… and I think that collar looks much too tight, it just doesn’t look foot friendly.

Just a quick thought. I’m not against the boa system, but I think the placement, shape and height of the knob could pose as a problem. Getting caught on edges and such, resulting in faceplants.
Have a look at the middle photo on the board with the orginal rendering, and look at how the feet are pointing.

I dont know much about parkour though, so it might be a trivial issue.

totally agree with Yo,
your current design is what i would call a little rough around the egdes, and needs to be finessed a little bit more. I know when i was a student my bottom tread designs were very simple and not very inspiring as well, i cant really put my finger on why that was, but yours is the same. I think its just having more experience with actual shoes and the manufacturing process and looking at them up close every day that has built my design vocab up to the level to do great outsole treads like what Yo has shown.

Yo’s upper pattern work is great, but its a level of understanding of materials and processes that students need to try hard to get to. Many things in Yo’s sketch i totally understand and use daily, but as a student before my first footwear internship i would have never had the ability/knowledge to do a stretch sock with a zigzag stitch topline, or his folded over eyestay pieces, etc. it really is about the details in footwear in most cases… doing them right that is.

Yo- Awesome insights and thoughts/sketches toward refining as always!

I agree 100% and also think 82 is right about some of this just being experience- but that’s the point of sharing the feedback.

Bart, definitely absorb what Mike is saying here. I think your concept presents the “idea” of where you want to go, and now needs simplification and styling, then detailing as he has shown. I think it’s important to also be looking at the negative space of your design as well. Not only the shapes of the functional pieces and overlays, but the shape of the spaces in between them that is created. All of these shapes should be resolved and “designed” within a cohesive form language. (color blocking along the way can help you see how your negative spaces are feeling)

Your process will improve as you become more patient and willing to explore relentlessly in order to find the best answer, so keep at it!

Great start, I can’t wait to see how you finish it out!


Will try to upload the rest of the project when I find time. For now here’s an update on what I’ve got so far.

Someone stole your thunder:

I think he’s definitely got things that stand out, but I don’t think he’s "stolen " any of my “thunder” haha! I really like the lacing idea, and it’s definitely a form that is unique. But I wanted to incorporate a more sport like, urban attitude to my design. While I wanted my design to be unique, I didn’t want it to be too crazy looking or people wouldn’t take my idea seriously,

Also, that large swatch of rubber that wraps all around the perimeter seems to me that it would hinder natural foot movement.

Still I think it’s a really cool concept.