It’s Drastic You Stay Away From Plastic! -Espinosa

Think about your favorite heel. It can be from a store you just visited or one you’ve seen on the feet of runway models. Visualize it and imagine strutting down the street in them, confidence and all. What color are these dream heels? How much height have you gained? Most importantly, what material is your heel composed of? A heel that is dream worthy should be made of nothing but the best and most exquisite materials. Backwards In High Heels are striving towards creating a heel using a material of top quality, without going overboard with pricing.

Not many people can honestly say they’ve owned a pair of plastic high heels that made their feet feel like they were walking on clouds. This is simply because plastic is one of the worst materials to use for shoes. Not only are plastic and synthetic fibers (nylon) not visually appealing, but they are materials that have little shock absorbance compared to other materials and they are very hard (little to no padding), which leads to pain in the ball of the foot and toes (the locations of the greater amount of weight distribution). Backwards In High Heels will be avoiding these cheap and insufficient materials and replacing them with leather, rubber, or cork. These materials all offer better shock absorbance, more cushion, and overall a better feel and look.

leather-red-high-heel-shoes plastic-heels

The red shoes (top image) are made with quality leather, while the silver and gold heels (bottom image) are made with cheap plastic.



Looking deeper into our top choice for material, leather offers many beneficiary attributes. First, it is important to know the production journey of the material and what it consists of. Leather is a material that is made from the skin of animals such as cows, buffalo, lambs, deer, alligators, or pigs. The process to make leather is fairly simple. First the animal skin is unhaired, followed by liming, bateing, and pickling. Within these steps the skin will be treated with solutions of sulphide and enzymes in order to chemically modify the skin. The next step, tanning, is the most important and most complex. After this chemical change, the leather is a new texture and color. The next steps include dyeing, drying, and putting the finishing touches. The final leather product offers cushioning that plastic lacks, while also absorbing moisture, which allows the feet to breathe. Leather is not only used for shoes, but is also used to make saddles, wallets, purses, belts, furniture coverings and book covers.

Various objects that are made with leather. This includes a belt, a boot, and a glasses case.


Backwards In High Heels is now currently brainstorming ideas based off of our research. Although our research will never stop, we have come to an agreement that leather, cork, or a mixture of these materials will be our top pick(s) that we will work with. There are different looks that can be catered to by using leather and cork, since leather can come in various colors (many shades of the typical brown, black, and white). We will be considering the direct cost increase that will be caused by the use of leather. We plan to keep our shoes affordable, but we will not allow our shoes to be anything except comfortable and safe.

What are your thoughts about leather versus plastic? What would be the maximum cost you would be willing to spend on a quality pair of high heels? What would be more visually appealing to you?


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