Footwear With Soul – Stacie Lesneski (UpDated)

This concept by deisnger Stacie Lesneski back in 2009, was designed to benefit refugee children. Specifically designed to protect their feet in poorly sanitized and overcrowded conditions and be more comfortable than a flip-flop, while also protecting against harmful insects and scorpions. Made from recycled rubber & fiber, the shoe is designed to be able to withstand the hot temperatures, sand and dust while remaining comfortable and breathable. The adjustable strap allows for a better fit, while the heel can be bent down to adjust to the child as they grow.

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[highlight] Can you tell us a little about yourself? [/highlight]

I’m an assistant product manager for Bags & Luggage at Burton Snowboards in Vermont, but I started off doing a lot of footwear design. Even though I’ve switched over to backpacks & luggage, I still love footwear and try to keep up with what’s new & was my first love after all!

[highlight] What inspired this concept? [/highlight]

This is a somewhat old project from my student days at Purdue University, so I could go into a lot of detail, but I’ll try to keep it brief.  I wanted to make a cheap but TOUGH shoe for kids, using recycled materials that would protect against the harsh environment of a refugee camp, but when the shoe is done it can be recycled again. I was actually inspired by a photo I saw of a refugee wearing plastic soda bottles for sandals, and I felt compelled to try to design a better solution, and also make it something that kids would want to wear.

[highlight] What is your favorite feature of the concept? [/highlight]

I think my favorite aspect of the shoe is that the back heel is designed to fold & be stepped on, so it can be worn as a child grows. I also like the toe indent (inspired by Vibram five fingers) because I thought if the strap ever gets lost or breaks, you could still wear it like a sandal.  It was a fun project to work on!