Wednesday, April 26, 2017

adidas UltraBoost sneakers made from ocean trash

Adidas’s latest project is to make trainers from ocean trash by the end of 2017. Each pair of UltraBoost sneakers will use an average of 11 plastic bottles. In partnership with environmental initiative Parley for the Oceans they released a limited-edition ocean plastic waste sneaker last year. Now they are about to release three new running shoes.

The shoes will not be made entirely out of ocean plastic. Recycled plastic will be mostly applied to the Primeknit portion of the shoe otherwise renewable materials will be used where possible.

Fetishism exposed

ABC News Science, scientific agony aunts Bernie Hobbs and Dr Alice Williamson explore the scientific basis for fetishism.

Fetishes: There's more to them than leather and kinky boots

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Reebok's compostable trainer

Later this year, Reebok will release their new eco friendly kicks and like many other companies sensitive to the environment they are determined not to damage the environment. The new range of Reebok sneaker is completely compostable and modelled after the “Classics’’ sneaker. The upper section is made of sustainable organic cotton, while the sole is derived from industrial grown corn. The new sneaker’s eyelets are stitched, rather than made of metal or plastic like some other shoes. According to Reebok the new compostable sneaker will appeal to Millennials and their younger counterparts who favour products and companies that are less damaging to the environment. The new sneaker will be priced comparably to Reebok’s Classics style, which generally ranges in price from $US 59.99 to $US 179.99. Ultimately, the company says that the goal is for the shoe to be the first in a long line of plant-based footwear.

Friday, April 21, 2017

The Northampton Museum the Concealed Shoe Index (CSI)

Have you ever been renovating and found something clearly out of place, that could almost be hidden in a secret place. If you have, chances are, it was a shoe.

The Northampton Museum the Concealed Shoe Index (CSI) contains more than 1,900 records of shoes found in the fabric of old buildings. The practice was widespread in Europe and may relate to a very old custom of human sacrifice then placing the body in the foundations to ensure the building holds together. One the earliest examples in the Northampton Museum is a Tudor shoe circa 1540, discovered in an Oxford college, but others come from as far away as Egypt and Chile. Shoes are frequently found alongside other objects but no one has ever found a written record of why this custom was practiced.

Most concealed shoes are usually well worn and are found in old chimney stacks or in the loft of old houses. These are thought to have been placed there by either the original builders or when the shoes date to a period after the houses were built, subsequent occupants. According to Swann(1999) an old Hertfordshire custom for luck was to discard old shoes by putting one to water and other to fire. This may in part explain one shoe hidden in the chimney. A pattern has however, emerged and old shoes are frequently restricted to openings on the north-east corner of a structure. Occultists believe this is the side evil spirits are thought to gain entry.

The most popular theory is superstitious people kept old shoes of loved ones in the belief shoes retained the spirit of the owner and as omens bring good luck or more likely ward off evil. A common belief is the devil and his cohorts do not like human smell and would find the smell of leather and sweat repugnant.

A considerable number of concealed shoes belong to children and may well have been kept as a keepsake of a lost child. Others believe these were a sign of fertility with a child’s shoe in the master bedroom a zemi to having lots of children. A child’s shoe also to occultists is pure and unsullied by adult life which would make it a stronger and more powerful totem.

Should you ever discovered concealed shoes please contact Rebecca Shawcross at with the following information

Address of building
Date of the building if known and date of any alterations / building work
What the building was / is such as a private house, pub, farm etc.
Where it was found within the building
Note if anything else was found with it
Description of the footwear
Date of the footwear
Images of the footwear in situ

Interesting Read
Swann J. (1996) Shoes concealed in buildings Costume no.30,p.56-69

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Do heels affect the voice? : New study

60s pop diva, Sandy Shaw always sang barefoot, which was rather a novelty but now scientists believe singing barefoot might be better than singing in high heels. Researchers have been busy trying to understand the effects of shoe heel height on female singers' vocal production. Previous findings in non-singer show wearing heels can affect body alignment and head position. Other studies in orthodontics, sleep apnoea, and voice science suggest that head and neck positioning can alter the vocal tract.

In a paper about to be published in Voice, researchers describe a study of 30 soloists and the effects of heel height (barefoot, 10.16-cm stilettos) on three angles of singer head position (calculated from C7-tragus-nasion), during alternating periods of silence and singing.

Results indicated that all participants (100%) significantly decreased head position angle measurements (inferior and posterior head and neck movement) when singing in high heels compared with singing barefoot. Participants, on average, significantly increased head position angle measurements (superior and anterior head and neck movement) when singing compared with standing silently, and did so to a greater degree when transitioning from silent heels to singing heels compared with transitioning from silent barefoot to singing barefoot. Long-term average spectra data indicated significant spectral energy differences between barefoot and high heel singing conditions across participants. Most participants (n= 21, 70.00%) indicated they felt comfortable and sang their best while barefoot.

Rollings AA (2017) The Effects of Heel Height on Head Position, Long-Term Average Spectra, and Perceptions of Female Singers J Voice. pii: S0892-1997(17)30056-5.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Scientists unravel why shoelace knots fail

Oliver O’Reilly is a mechanical engineer at the University of California, Berkeley, and became intrigues why shoe laces suddenly became undone. He and colleagues observed the shoelaces of a runner on a treadmill and after inspecting slow motion footage realized the laces became undone within one or two strides. The researchers rigged up a pendulum whose swinging arm hit a platform, re-creating the foot striking the ground. They tied shoelaces to the pendulum arm and weighted the laces to mimic the forces of the swinging leg. After hundreds of tests the results confirmed it takes both the foot impact and the lashing laces to unravel the knot.

To measure the proper acceleration acting on the knot the researchers used an accelerometer placed on the tongue of the shoe. Analysis of data revealed the combined impact and acceleration on a shoelace during walking was the equivalent of 7 G-Force. The scientists compared stomping up and swinging back and forth to no effect. It took the interlaced effects of the two forces to undo the knot: the repeated impacts loosened it while the changes of direction pulled on the laces.

Shoelaces tied the conventional way, using the "bunny ears" technique taught to kids, failed every time they were tested at the maximum weight. The team labelled this the “weak knot.” But the so-called “strong knot” came apart in only half of the 15-minute lab trials at the maximum weight. (To make a strong knot, cross the left lace over the right and pull it through the resulting loop. Form both the right and the left lace ends into loops and wrap the bottom of the right loop around the bottom of the left.) The team did not look at double-knotting.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Adidas Futurecraft 4D: New Order

Adidas teamed up with Carbon, a Silicon Valley-based 3D-printing company to produce a faster print than other 3D printers. Carbon’s process called Digital Light Synthesis, is continuous starting from the bottom whereas older 3D printers, print object, layer by layer from the top down. Carbon’s machines use liquid resin material so the digital light below the printing surface turns the liquid resin into a solid object. Spefications appropriate to the wearer can be customised into Carbon’s 3D printing process which changes the geometry of the lattice to make different areas firmer or softer. After the midsole is printed it’s attached to the top of the shoe, which is made from fabric using traditional manufacturing methods.

Considered to up to 10 times faster the new version is better suited for mass production. Adidas plans on selling 5,000 pairs of limited edition shoes in 2017, with more to follow by the end of 2018.