Shoes – history – Spanish cave drawings from more than 15,000 years ago show humans with animal skins or furs wrapped around their feet. The body of a well-preserved “ice-man” nearly 5,000 years old wears leather foot coverings stuffed with straw.

Shoes, in some form or another, have been around for a very long time. The evolution of foot coverings, from the sandal to present-day athletic shoes that are marvels of engineering, continues even today as we find new materials with which to cover our feet.

Ballet pointe shoes
Ballet Teresa Carreño

Pointe shoes – Designed for ballet dancing. These have a toe box that is stiffened with glue and a hardened sole so the dancer can stand on the tips of their toes. They are secured by elastic straps and ribbons that are tied to the dancer’s ankles.

  • Ballet shoes – New York City Ballet dancers regularly go through 10 or 12 pairs a week. The shoes cost nearly $100 a pair in stores. City Ballet buys 8,500 pairs a year, and has a $650,000 annual shoe budget.

What’s the problem? How might we WHAT for WHOM in order to CHANGE something?

Design a Shoe – Design and build a pair of stylish shoes to be worn around an obstacle course. Provide
the following constraints:

  • The shoes must have at least a 2″ heel.
  • The shoes must stay on the foot on their own.
  • The shoes must be a matching pair.
  • The shoes must be stylish.

Engineering ideas

  • materials, recycle, formed

Do it
Now it is your turn. Here are some challenges for you to work on…

  • design footwear for a special occasion, extreme sport or unusual situation. Try to come up with something new and interesting but practical, too.

Learn more…