First step towards environmentally-friendly shoes

June 22, 2006

A Northumbria University student has designed an environmentally-friendly children’s shoe that adapts to a child’s differing needs in footwear.

The shoe uses fewer resources and components in its manufacture and, as such, lends itself more easily to recycling.

John Macdonald, who is in his final year of a Design for Industry course, used a black moulded flexible plastic as the basic structure. The shoe is then kept in a secure position by fitted, elastic straps.

John, originally of Bath but now living in Swindon Terrace in Heaton, said: “At the moment shoes are made out of as many as 40 different components and a variety of adhesives which means they can’t be recycled.

“My design uses minimal separate components, some of which can be made locally. The shoe is quick to assemble and easy to take apart again which increases the possibilities of recycling.’’

To further aid recycling, John devised an incentive scheme for customers where they would be offered a discount on their next pair of shoes whenever they brought an old pair back to the shop. The returned shoes would then be correctly disposed of and recycled in ways which would benefit the manufacturer.

John was also keen that the shoe should fit in with the different activities and lifestyles of children.

“The plain black shoe would be used by children when they are at school but the straps can be reversed or customised to add colour for when kids are playing sports or if they are going to a party,’’ he said.

“The construction of the shoe is lightweight and supportive, lending itself to active lifestyles which should be encouraged in children.’’

John has called his design the HOOP in reference to two loops at the top of the shoe which help stretch apart the shoe to allow the foot in. The shoe then snaps back and grips the foot. This was inspired by children from a youth group in Gateshead with whom John worked in researching his design.

John also worked with Clarks on the project and he has now been offered a work placement there to develop his design.

Source: Northumbria University

Explore further: 3-D printed horseshoe to improve racing performance

Related Stories

Airport security is a tech-firm gold rush

February 4, 2010

For airline passengers, the attempted Christmas Day attack and a directive by President Obama to pursue advanced screening technology will certainly mean added security procedures at airports.

Cleanliness is key for robotic space explorers

December 27, 2012

The concrete-floored room looks, at first glance, like little more than a garage. There is a red tool chest, its drawers labeled: "Hacksaws." "Allen wrenches." There are stepladders and vise grips. There is also, at one end ...

Researcher discusses electronic cochlear architecture

January 20, 2015

Researchers have developed an architecture and digital implementation of an electronic cochlea with an acoustic fovea and address event representation using field programmable gate arrays. Prof. Andreas Andreou of Johns Hopkins ...

Recommended for you

The culinary habits of the Stonehenge builders

October 13, 2015

A team of archaeologists at the University of York have revealed new insights into cuisine choices and eating habits at Durrington Walls – a Late Neolithic monument and settlement site thought to be the residence for the ...

Ancient genome from Africa sequenced for the first time

October 8, 2015

The first ancient human genome from Africa to be sequenced has revealed that a wave of migration back into Africa from Western Eurasia around 3,000 years ago was up to twice as significant as previously thought, and affected ...

Mexican site yields new details of sacrifice of Spaniards

October 9, 2015

It was one of the worst defeats in one of history's most dramatic conquests: Only a year after Hernan Cortes landed in Mexico, hundreds of people in a Spanish-led convey were captured, sacrificed and apparently eaten.

From a very old skeleton, new insights on ancient migrations

October 9, 2015

Three years ago, a group of researchers found a cave in Ethiopia with a secret: it held the 4,500-year-old remains of a man, with his head resting on a rock pillow, his hands folded under his face, and stone flake tools surrounding ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.