A Study in Performance Footwear: The Design of a Wakeskate Shoe

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At the intersection of wakeboarding and skateboarding, the sport of wakeskating has emerged and captured the interest of many young and daring athletes. As a watersport that utilizes a griptape board, wakeskaters are able to perform skateboarding moves on the water. This extreme set of circumstances places unique demands on a rider’s footwear while they encounter water, grip-tape, dirt, sand, and gravel. This Master’s Thesis sets out to explore the question: can an effective and sustainable footwear design be generated to address the high-performance requirements of wakeskating? The purpose of this research is to propose the design of a wakeskate shoe which evolves from the theory of three core conceptual frameworks. The first of these is the user-centred design framework establishing a design approach that focuses on the user at the heart of the research. Next is the framework of sustainable development, identifying the opportunities for an environmentally, socially, economically and culturally sustainable design. Lastly, the parameters of the footwear industry are explored to ensure a strong understanding of the industry sector for this project. From the literature review of the conceptual framework and primary research including key informant interviews, user surveys, and Human Performance Lab testing, a synthesis of the findings takes shape as a design brief intended to inform the resulting design project. The wakeskate shoe design that emerges from this brief should operate using a sustainable business model, while implementing the use of sustainable materials and processes. The design must also address fundamental user needs such as quick drying, optimizing board feel, and providing durability in the toe, lateral forefoot, and counter, resulting in a longer-lasting shoe. The outcome of these efforts aim to produce a sustainable piece of footwear design that meets the demands of a rider engaged in the sport of wakeskating.
Vodon, K. (2019). A Study in Performance Footwear: The Design of a Wakeskate Shoe (Master's thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from https://prism.ucalgary.ca.