Ripple Shoe

Introduction: Ripple Shoe

The difference between any two people's shoes seems menial despite the distinct and separate courses of their lives. Shoes are treated as strangely impersonal when they are a loyal constant, wearing and conforming to the foot incrementally with each step.

Observing each step taken is a means to hang on to the present moment. Eastern-influenced philosopher, Robert Pirsig, calls the present moment “Quality,” the true connection to reality. To be directly conscious of the world and your relationship with it is to focus on your current self, your current motion. Only then will true freedom and evolution commence.

The following explains how my own careful footstep informed the design of the Ripple Shoe (This Instructable is still in progress).

Step 1: Record a Careful Footstep

I fastened an accelerometer to the top of my foot to capture the dynamic tilt of a footstep. The Firefly plugin allowed me to feed my Arduino output directly into Grasshopper. The Grasshopper sketch I made draws a simple line graph of the accelerometer data. Afterwards, I took this graph and radially lofted it to create a 3D ripple surface, the center corresponding to the beginning of the step and the outer edges relating to the ending of the step.

Step 2: Translate Recording Into 3D Stamp

After making this ripple surface into a solid obj file, I took it into Mudbox and created a stamp using a displacement map. This is done with the following workflow:

Viewport filters tab -> screen distance

Select top view

UVs & Maps menu -> Extract Texture Maps -> New Operation

Select Displacement Map

Add reference plane to Target Models list

Add ripple to Source Models list

Choose File name


Step 3: Create Custom Shoe Shape

A friend helped me scan my foot with an Artec Eva scanner. With this scan, I was able to to offset the surface of my foot and make the shoe custom fit.

Step 4: Applying Ripple Texture

Once I had my digital stamp and basic shoe shape, I started stamping. I made about 40 different studies before deciding on my favorite. After that, it was only a matter of tweaking the shoe contour to fit onto a store-bought sole and hollowing it out for printing. More in-depth process documentation as well as photos of the real thing are on the way!

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