Oxfam estimates that in 2005, the world could have ended extreme poverty with $151 billion. That same year, the world spent $198 billion on shoes alone. There are still billions of people without shoes, not because they can’t find any, but because they don’t have the financial means to buy them.
Horatio Yuxin Han has developed one solution to ensure that shoes can be affordable for everyone. Together with Kevin Crowley of the Pratt Institute, they’ve created an origami-inspired shoe that would be cheaper, easier to store and ship, and recyclable – the Unifold.
Made from ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) material, a lightweight foam rubber commonly used in sports equipment, the Unifold is folded like origami around the foot. It doesn’t require complicated shoe-making processes such as molding and lacing, which makes it cheaper to produce. Printed on a sheet of foam rubber, the shoe doesn’t need much storage space either, cutting the costs of distribution.
At the moment there are two designs of the Unifold – one a slipper and the other a sandal.
Currently the project is still conceptual, but Han suggests that the design has great potential to reach a large number of people, as anyone who has a copy of the design could get it printed at a local shop. Han and a team at Pratt are working to bring the shoe to market.
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