Taking your shoes to a repairman is so yesterday, and Eugenia Morpurgo has the kicks to prove it! The design student conceptualized a shoe that comes with its own repair kit; and since it’s our job to be curious, ShoesTV simply had to know more about the aptly named Repair It Yourself (RIY) shoes.
Tell us a little about your design background.
EM: I earned a bachelor's degree in industrial design at The University of Venice, and I just graduated from the Social Design master's course at the Design Academy Eindhoven [Holland].
How do the RIY shoes work?
EM: The shoes have three components--the sole, the upper, and the insole. The sole and the insole, both made of rubber, are designed with a female-male snap system that clamps the upper when they are connected. Once the cotton upper is disconnected from the sole it can be repaired with proper tools and techniques. The tools come in a kit with the shoes.
Replaceable outsoles and insoles disconnect with a female-male snap system.
What can you tell us about the design process?
EM: During the process I researched consumer behavior, the history of repairing shoes, and how shoes age. I developed different prototypes with different materials and technical solutions, and toward the end I tested the prototypes on myself as well as other people.
Why did you decide to create Repair It Yourself shoes?
EM: I researched the demands and behaviors of the new consumer and looked at different possibilities in the refurbish/repairing culture. I found that shoes were the best product for my concept since the mass market has drastically evolved away from a totally repairable object. Plus, the active social-economical structure around shoe reparation [cobbling] is slowly disappearing.
RIY shoes include three kits that are equipped with materials to mend uppers using shoe cobbling skills--darning, patching, or felting.
Why do you think shoe cobbling is declining?
EM: Shoe cobbling is declining because mass market shoes are not designed with the idea of reparation. The materials and assembling techniques make the job of repairing very difficult, if not impossible. Plus, cost is another big aspect. It’s easy to find really cheap shoes, usually of very low quality, and repairing them costs more than buying a new pair.
Unfortuantely, the RIY shoes have not been sent into mass production just yet, but keep checking back with ShoesTV for availability updates on this revolutionary shoe design!
Photo Courtesy: Gizmag.com