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Bill (2020)

Research & product design

Intrigued by the recurring phenomenon of so-called barefoot shoes, I wanted to understand whether it was all just a cleverly marketed fad or if there really was more behind the concept. I went on and took a foot-forward dive into the world of podiatrists, pedicure and primal movement.

Long story short:
Strong and agile feet do play a key role when it comes to developing injury-free movement patterns and maintaining a balanced posture.
Many of the footwear designs popular in “western culture” are actually working against the anatomy of the human body, restricting the biomechanics of the feet and  often shifting the body’s center of gravity. This implies compensatory behaviour that can lead to chronic pain and lingering injury.
Despite their potential health benefits, most minimalist footwear would neither provide the ability to be worn for a long period of time stylewise, nor to age well and be repaired.
It’s those features that may allow for a stronger emotional bond and stewardship towards everyday objects, which are necessary for healthier, less wasteful consumption patterns.

Bill combines all these aspects with the visual appearance of an obvious yet undiscovered icon of the minimalist footwear cosmos: the Moon Shoe designed by Bill Bowerman in the early 1970s. It is known as the igniting spark of what would later become the biggest sportswear manufacturer in the world – one pair of was auctioned in 2019 for 437.500$.
This subtle time- and context-shifting appropriation gives Bill an ambiguous tension that can be found in many iconic insignia of historical counter-cultures.

Photos: Nils Körner
Book: Pia Heer & Justus Heuschele