Introduction: How to Make Trainers (02:04)
In this video, Zoe Laughlin will examine the construction of running shoes and make her own pair.
Northampton Shoe Museum (06:23)
Trainers come in a wide variety. In the 19th century, Northampton is Britain's shoe capital. Laughlin examines the design and material of archived trainers.
The Autopsy (02:59)
Laughlin cuts several trainers to examine their composition; companies spend over £500 million a year on research and development. Laughlin will focus on three build elements to create trainers—the sole, the upper, and the fastenings.
The Sole (05:29)
Laughlin examines the protective abilities of various materials and structures. She discusses energy, absorption, and impact. Laughlin chooses foam for her soles; there are several varieties.
The Sole: Foam (03:47)
Laughlin visits Hotter to learn how they make soles for trainers with polyurethane foam. The manufacturer produces 35,000 pairs of trainers a week.
The Sole: Density (04:40)
Laughlin chooses polyurethane foam for the sole. She experiments with various concentrations of isocyanate and polyol to achieve her desired comfort.
The Sole: Dynamic Function (04:09)
Feet have three main sections. Laughlin visits a podiatric surgeon to learn how her feet work and what they need.
The Make (03:38)
Laughlin creates molds for the soles of her trainers and adds a two-tone polyurethane mixture. She embeds part of a graphene reinforced sole to the heel and non-slip mesh.
The Upper (06:52)
Laughlin examines various fabric casings and their construction. Consumers in the U.K. throw away 300 million pairs of shoes per year. Central Saint Martins researchers create new materials in hopes of reducing waste.
The Upper: Fabric
Laughlin experiments with various materials for her trainers—cotton, wool, nylon, and dyneema. She chooses nylon for the uppers and dyneema for the toe caps.
The Upper: Template (05:11)
Laughlin visits Norman Walsh Footwear to learn how to cut and assemble various fabrics for her trainers. She fuses her fabric with polyester foam, creates a pattern, and uses deodorizing fabric for the insoles.
The Fastenings (03:25)
Laughlin identifies various fasteners including Velcro, magnetic clasps, and laces. She creates shoelaces with polycaprolactone so they will never untie.
Laughlin's Trainers (04:40)
Laughlin takes her trainer pieces to the London College of Fashion for help with assembly. At her lab, she attaches a loop, insoles and laces. Laughlin reflects on her shoe-making experience.
Credits: How to Make Trainers (00:36)
Credits: How to Make Trainers
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