What do you do when your favorite kicks spring a leak? Unless you’re game for a duct-taping project, you give them an unceremonious chuck. Many shoes, especially of the cheaper variety, are composed of glued components that can’t be replaced. A new project by recent Eindhoven grad Eugenia Morpurgo challenges consumers to take matters into their own hands by empowering them to maintain their canvas flats with a kit of replacement parts.
Morpurgo’s Repair It Yourself shoes snap together and come apart easily so that the insole and outsole can be replaced. Three separate kits equip users to mend the uppers by darning, patching, or felting. According to the designer:
Shoes are one of those products that, with the rise of consumerism and mass production, evolved drastically from a completely repairable object; and the active social-economical structure that existed around shoe repair is slowly disappearing. . . . This project brings back in the hand of the consumers tools and knowledge for repairing.
That’s a worthy goal, so long as it doesn’t divert work away from cobblers, whose craft, Morpurgo claims, is on the wane. The project is also reminiscent of Skins footwear, designed by Dror Benshetrit as a detachable orthopedic insert (the "bone") that could slip into any number of "skins." Despite much initial hype, that concept failed to gain traction. If mainstream consumers considered changing out their insoles taxing, then it’ll probably be a small class of DIYers who embrace the idea of patching their own shoes. But in this instance, we’ll be happy to be wrong.