Saucony Huarache - Minimalist Running Footwear




About: 19 Edinburgh, student product designer and tinkerer

Exploded animation of the sole using Photoview360 plugin within Solidworks:
(Email me if you would like any tips how to use this, as I found it difficult to start with!)
Overview: The Problem and the Introduction

This was my A Level project in which I offered my skills to Saucony a manufacture of Sports Shoes, I wanted the chance push my skills as a designer and try something new, to create a Minimalist running shoe that will help enable athletes to take advantage sensory feedback, a huge problem facing many modern barefoot athletes. My final concept design allows the midsole of the shoe to compress under impact causing lugs to then feed ground feel information into the user’s foot via the top honeycomb structure. The design was created to help reunite runners with traditional running techniques using a forefoot stance, the name Huarache comes from the Mexican word for Sandal, as my primary inspiration was traditional footwear and the incredible endurance and performance displayed by the Taramuhara runners.

Ideation and Making:

My design process started with myself meeting with barefoot athletes at the Trees For Cities barefoot 100m challenge, this offered me an opportunity to understand and find out what the user wanted in minimalist footwear. It was clear, that there input would help create the ideal solution to the problem or shoes that provided no sensory feedback and numbed the users running experience.

The project along with my ideation was finished with the creation of a detailed concept model that would help show the structure, scale and form of the shoe. I created the sole of the shoe within Solidworks; I created the file using a series of surface offsets to allow the 3 sections to align perfectly. The model was then rendered using Photoview360 as it allowed me to create a video render of the construction of the shoe that I would later use to present my idea and help in the manufacturing of an SLS print. Solidworks also allowed me to calculate what materials would be most suitable for my design, my prior research and my personal choice for sustainable materials and manufacturing processes would be fundamental in my assessment.
The STL file exported from Solidworks of the separate layers and emailed the 3TRPD to be produced in Duraform Nylon. The quick nature of the additive process allowed a quick turnaround of the part and would have allowed me the opportunity for any adjustments had the process not been to my specification. However the print was incredible and would be important in conveying the weight and beautiful organic form of the sole.

The simulator showed that expanded foam and EVA rubber would provide best impact support and would be most economic and with a lower global impact to other manufacturing techniques furthermore the material properties would provide maximum performance and proprioception. The material choice would also cohere with my sustainable aesthetic, which my target audience desired!
The STL file was then sent to a 3TRPD to create a NYLON print using a additive SLS technique. This process of manufacture for my one off production for my concept model and furthermore would give me an accurate rendition of what the sole would look like when produced in rubber. This process is suitable for the manufacturing technique for its fast production and for its low cost.
The last of the shoe was modelled in DELCAM ShoemakerPRO, from which the STL file was exported to a CNC milling machine, where a model was split into two halves and milled from blocks of MDF. The model was split into due the thickness of the last which would have resulted in the tool rubbing against the material potential damaging the machinery. The last was then cut from the excess material using a band saw and glued together. To remove and surface imperfections the last was sprayed with spraying compound/automotive filler to smooth the surface. The repeated process of wet and dry paper along with spraying would achieve me a higher surface finish.

The last was then vacuumed formed over with a sheet of white acrylic, excess material removed and a vinyl decal was cut using the plotter and applied the top of the last. The final step was to us materials from sports clothing to fabricate the last. The use of sports material was cheap and effective due to similar material qualities as used in final manufacturing process. The material was sewn using the sewing machine and simply wrapped and stapled the MDF last that was left inside the vacuum formed acrylic. The SLS print of the sole was then applied to the base of the last using a hot glue gun. Photographs were taken and then supplied to Saucony for evaluation.

Please check out more information of my A level project on my portfolio

(Email any questions i'd love to help)





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    5 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    another question how much did the nylon print cost you?


    6 years ago on Introduction

    this is pretty awesome.. i was thinking on making my own shoes and testing them out in an upcoming zombie race and an spartan race.. one quick question.. i'm thinking these are concept only shoes since they seemed to be glued by a glue gun right? i want to know if these can be tested?


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    anything is possible if you put your mind to it. This instructable was only to demonstrate a few techniques to produce a high quality concept.

    Let me know if there was something I could have done to make understanding this easier. Love to help :D