Research Methods

Points to research:

  • Understanding of the market (trends) (scope)
  • Understanding of the products (currently on offer, brands waste & constructionTr)
  • Sustainability
  • Users (what is known about the users, sneaker heads, sneaker culture, ath-leisure)
  • Technology & Manufacturing
  • Marketing (adopting a new product)

Methods of designing:

  • Use of bio degradable materials in shoes
  • Stamp or knit upper
  • Sneaker construction

Research Methods:

  • Trend spotting
  • Future forecasting
  • competitor product analysis
  • User Narration
  • Be your customer/client
  • Automated Remote research
  • Case Studies
  • Questionnaires
  • Value Opportunity Analysis
  • Product autopsy
  • Perceptual Mapping

Wednesday Week 3

Research lead me to see the growing popularity of the sneaker industry and how this has sparked the start of “ath-leisure”, where people have over time learned the importance of health and comfort of footwear. The users are demanding footwear that can be worn is all occasions and provide suitable support, this has lead to challenging dress codes and what is acceptable to wear out. As these Shoes are being worn to work dressed as smart casual and out to the shops in the early mornings in your PJ’s.

Since the industrial revolution and the ease of use of rubber in shoe design it provided support and cushioning to the range of sport shoes.

This market is largely driven by trends which makes forecasting important in the product design segment in terms of quality, trend and quantity. “This is not a fashion trend, it’s a lifestyle trend”. This has lead to the increase in the athletic footwear market which continues to rise.

I also came across some discussion over the aesthetic of DIY materials and how it influences the experience of the consumer. It uses the five kingdoms of DIY materials and finds common traits that influence users perception of the materials. These traits can include textured, matte, warm, organic, unique, smelly, soft, elastic, etc.

Monday Week 3

Meeting with Hannah Clement

Hannah is a technical demonstrator in the textile department. She has experience in natural biodegradable materials and knows her way around the material lab and textile studio.

She began by asking about my project and instantly suggested the use of wool for the upper, in their department wool is successful in combining with other materials and being bio degradable. As is bio degrades it releases nitrogen into the soil which helps the nutrients. As for the sole she thought of bio plastic, bioplastic is just a bit more difficult to find out whether it is biodegradable or not and will need testing.

She showed us the facilities and welcomed us to use the space to begin product testings and getting inducted in any areas that would be helpful. She runs inductions on felt looms and weaving in the fab lab.

Pine needle pressing, wool- short staple wool fibres, felting.

She also mentioned the help of Carol Jess who is knowledgable with a program called ‘acumark’ that can be used to design patterns in textiles.

She showed us a range in materials possible using Gelotine, Glicerin and starch…

Friday Week 2

Working on our design briefs and design criteria.

Speaking with the tutor Emma, she pointed out the difference between designing a shoe using a knitted upper or stamp uppers. Knitted upper are good as their production has zero waste, the shape of the upper is predetermined and so the material is used to build that shape. Whereas stamping uses the production of a sheet of material in which the shape is cut out of leaving cut offs.

Using a knitted upper is good at reducing waste of shoes and would mean learning the techniques of knitting these peculiar shapes. However Emma also pointed out how knitting is good but if I wish to target a real problem like shoe off cuts I could explore stamping in a way that provides a design with minimal waste, finding a solution as apposed to using current methods.

This has lead me to explore the pros and cons of each technique to find more info to help decide on a style.

She also suggested some artefact examination by going to shoe stores around wellington and seeing what styles are on offer and how sustainable they are from my existing knowledge.

Thursday Week 2

Meeting with Sandy Heffernan

Sandy works here in the creative collage of arts in the textile department and has experience with bio materials and sustainable products.

When speaking with here she gave me some resources on a shoe company in Portugal called Zouri. They work with grinding up ocean plastics and using then in the foam sole of their sandals. They also use natural leather and adhesives in their sandals.

She showed me some student work which i found very interesting, it was good to see these students being able to make these natural materials from coffee grinds and wool being mixed with gelatine.

She gave me the names of some other staff members to speak with such as Hannah Clement from textiles and also Wendy in the Fab lab.

She spoke about the testings they can do on fabrics such as the ‘standard of performance’ where you can test durability and also a dehumidifier.


Tuesday Week 2

Discussing with a class mate brought up a few videos and documentaries about shoe design and how they explore using a wide range of materials and test rigs when trying to find the new natural feel of running.

Nike Lab: Innovation x innovators

Tinker Hatfield: footwear designs ep. 2

A class mate referred me to a member of Massey University staff who specialises is Bio-materials amongst other things. I have arranged a meeting with her on Thursday morning to discuss my project and hopefully gain some insight into using sustainable materials. She sent through a link to a Portuguese brand called Zouri who use ocean plastics when making sustainable sandals.

Monday Week 2

Further researching characteristics and possibilities of using bio degradable materials.

Introduction into low risk management and research methods.

Research brought up the growth of athletic shoe sales and production over the last 10 years. More leathers are being replaced by nylon and other synthetic materials. popularity is growing for the ‘athletic shoe’ including running shoes and sneakers. With more people wearing running shoes as they commute to work or wearing the current sneaker as it provides the comfort of a sport shoe with the look and design of a fashionable shoe.

1st written brief

Brief 2

Image board for inspiration

Image board 1

Design criteria V1

Design Criteria 1

Friday week 1

Uploading our first project proposal.

When working on the project proposal we decide on the project outlines and use keywords and research questions to shape our projects.

Upon discussion with classmates I looked into trying to combine my second and third topic proposal to try to make a bio degradable shoe that involves 3D processes to try to customise the fit of the shoe.

Key words: Shoe design, Comfort, Bio degradable, Desirable, Customised fit.

Research questions:

What are the implications of the current sneaker’s end of life process?

What brings value to eco-friendly products?

How will the material define the design of the shoe?

How much importance do people place in their shoes?

How will people be convinced to switch to ecofriendly shoes?


Wednesday week 1

After discussion with the lectures my project should be one that involves a strong passion to keep me motivated for the year. This has leant me towards designing a shoe, with the possibility of combining technologies such as 3D printing and Bio fabrication.

In doing so I could look to combine my second and third proposals into one, developing a shoe exploring environmentally safe materials whist using 3D printing to provide a comfortable experience to each user.

Monday week 1

Introduction into the project and some suggestions given on deciding on a direction.

Currently I have two proposals; Tennit and Comfort Design.

Tennit; making outdoor exploring safer

I want to design an easily compact-able temporary shelter, that works as a safety precaution when exploring the outdoors; Hiking, camping, hunting, racing. Encouraging people to have one of the necessities of survival when outdoors, without the packing hassle.

Comfort design; ways of customising users shoe experiences.

I want to design a football boot that is customised to the different users, it separates the structure of a shoe from the soft fabrics and uppers to provide a new experience when playing football. New experiences is what is driving new designs and my design will look art increasing comfort with different users and improving natural touch on the ball.


After discussion with peers they lead me to thinking about designing a shoe that has minimal impact on the environment during production. This lead me to my third proposal: combustshoe

Combustshoe: discovering natural biodegradable materials.

I want to explore a range of materials that can be used to replace the current synthetic fabrics used in shoe wear. Helping to reduce the waste from the shoe industry polluting the planet and designing a shoe that is eco friendly and renewable.

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