So the theme of my Final project was the design and overall look of a running shoe/Trainer, I wanted to take inspiration from iconic Nike Air designs such as the Air Max 95 because of the hidden lacing. The way I gathered secondary research for my project was by looking at current popular shoes on websites such as footlocker, Klect and FightClub, and looking at the types of materials, shapes and patterns that are used within some of these designs.
As well as looking at the design of the shoes I also wanted to look at how they were put together, what tools and machinery were used in this process. For this I looked online however I could not find much useful information apart from local companies which manufacture casual footwear, although this was not the type of shoe I wanted to create, it was a step in the right direction and so I went ahead and contacted these companies, unfortunately, most of them were unable to get back to me for reasons unbeknown to me. As no one got back to me I looked on youtube and found some amazingly helpful videos on how some of the tools were used to make shoes and so on…
I had also found a large number of designers and pages on instagram which showcased digitized designs as well as prototype trainers and decided to reach out to a few of them asking about processes, materials and other designers they use and think about when they are doing their own work.
At the start of the project I went with processes that I had previously become good at using such as photoshopping and illustrating digitally. As I had done research I wanted to in a sense build a shoe from scratch, by this I mean make all the tools used to create a shoe myself for example a shoe last, usually made from wood or plastic and so I carved the shape of a last out of plaster and made a cast of it so that I could then produce unlimited amounts of the original last out of whatever suitable material I desired. The original plan was to pour a plastic material into the cast because plastic is stronger and more resistant than plaster and these features are imperative to what the last is used for, however, the plastic I needed to use was only available in high quantities and was overly expensive and so I was not able to get hold of it.
When i was researching materials to use I ordered some samples of leather from yarwood leathers and they were sent pretty much immediately, I looked at a black and yellow theme of leathers that looked abit distressed rough. I also got a full hyde of buffalo leather from a market in todmorden which was specifically used for making sneakers, the only down side was that one side of it was coated in a white plastic coating, I assume it was to give the leather a better finish. This meant that I wasnt able to have this sheet of leather laser cut but instead we used the other side and just scratched the surface with the laser.
I think my skills have developed drastically throughout this course as I have explored new processes and materials, I started off with a lot of pencil drawings and the idea of designing a sneaker, this has develpoed into looking at how I could create tools such as a last which is usually made from plastic and is pre made, instead I used plaster and carved and casted the shape of a last which are two things I have never done before. I was also shown how to use a laser cutter and make files ready to be used on a laser cutter. I have also looked more towards textiles and using sewing machines and stitching fabrics together which is something that I have done before but have not yet done properly and is something that I would liked to have done more of.
I would have like to have done more laser cutting because when I used this tool, the final outcome was amazing, however certain materials and lack of time held me back from doing this, I also wanted to see the possibilities if I had access too plastic lasts and some of the proper tools used to make sneakers, if so I believe I would have been able to make something more professional.