One of the shoes that are an influence on my way of thinking is the elusive Nike Long Ball Lace.
The great idea for me conceptually – although in no way whatsoever a new concept, that honour goes to the Albanian ‘Opanek’ shoe – is the fact that the entire shoe is laced together, and therefore in theory at least, if something wears out ) or if one of the components are too small or too big, you can swap them out.
fig.1 – The Albanian Opanek Shoe
Fig.2 – The Nike Long Ball Lace
I didn’t really document fully the design of this – and obviously there’s a long way to go before it’s right – but essentially what I did is make a ‘blank’ shoe of no real specific design out of an old pair of jeans, and quickly stapled it together (Yeah, with a stapler). I then drew the design on this ‘last’ of sorts and cut the shoe design from that.
From there I transferred the pattern to paper. Where things went haywire with this design is in the toe box or vamp. I thought I left enough room in the front of the shoe but I know if I bond a sole to this thing there will be no room for my toes. As a sock though, it’s an ergonomic wonder!
Fit-wise, the rest of the shoe is awesome. As with the desert boots, I completely improvised the rear of the shoe, and this shoe fits really well. I did like three moccasin-style I guess ‘pinches’ to remove material where is was saggy, so now the rear fits like a glove. I think I could improve it further by pinching the sides a bit more.
Yeah, the forefoot is another story, it’s a real mess! I futzed around with it for about 4 hours, cutting the front off, trying about 3-4 different tongue designs, and scribbling all over it with pens. It’s still not even vaguely right.
I’m not completely convinced that the top-tongue is suited to moccasin-style saddle-stitch construction, but maybe it’s more of a case of getting the positioning right. At this stage its obviously too ‘on top’ of the shoe, and the front generally is too tight.
On to the next prototype!
Fig.3,4,5 – My Prototype