From Shoe Makers to Sole Changers – Amelia Fisher

These past couple weeks in our bio engineering class our group, Backwards in High Heels, has been working on the first few sketches for the product we’re going to create over the course of this school year. Our original plan was to design a new pair of comfortable high heels, but after some closer looks through our research we realized just how ambitious our goals were. The trade skill of shoe making is considered, by many, an art, and the goal of creating a new stylish pair of comfy heels at a low price, is something many people have already worked on and tried to achieve.

The major goals of Backwards in High Heels (as seen in our mission statement) are the short term comfort of the foot when wearing heels and the long term health of the foot and ankle. These goals have very little to nothing to do with the actual structure of the shoe but are more closely related to the issue of the soles found inside of the said shoes.

On our in-class field trip, Backwards in High Heels visited both Target and the Dollar Tree to look for materials and ideas for our design. We came across a selection of insoles when passing the pharmacy section in Target and decided as a team to redirect our project goal to creating a usable insole specifically designed for high heeled shoes.

We were inspired by one of Dr. Scholls shoe insoles from the Active Series (pictured below). This exact insole wouldn’t work inside of a high heeled shoe (due to its stiff plastic infrastructure keeping the insole tennis shoe specific), but we noticed the different types of materials used and where they were placed.

photo taken at 10/16/2014
photo taken at 10/16/2014

The front toe area of this particular insole had a softer cushier gel that offers more support in that area to help eliminate blisters*. There is also arch support included in this insole design to help alleviate some more short term  pain in the middle arch of the foot. The heel of the insole had a hardened gel that gave more support and alleviated friction, which is the cause of calluses in the foot* and gave the foot a more steady healthy positioning.

found at
found at

We will definitely still be challenged by the creation of a successful insole. One of our main difficulties will be to design an insole with a supportive arch that will be adjustable to different heel heights and sizes. We will also need to research more on the different types of gels and plastics and how they will work either better or worse for different parts of the insoles. Our new goal is to change the way the soles of heels are seen for the better, so everyday women can wear the shoes they want without worrying about the well being of their feet.

found at
found at

*material found at

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