We were talking about how expensive it is to buy new shoes for nice occasions, and how sometimes during those hectic days in killing heels, we actually want to remove the heel portion of it so we thought about how it would be much easier to just stick a heel on shoes we already had. From there we looked at the market and realized there wasn't really anything comparable being sold. This was a product that we would personally be interested in having so we decided this was a good opportunity to start that process.
What it does
Attach-a-Heel connects a high heel with connected arch support to your existing sandals and flip flops!
How we built it
We first modeled the concept using cardboard and an old shoe. We cut out pieces of cardboard in the shape of a heel and stacked them to form the structure of the high heel. We then bent bobby pins into braces to secure the heel to the shoe. This allowed us to test out the concept with bodyweight on it before we went into 3D modeling it. After seeing that the design made sense in the real world, we put together a model initially in Fusion 360, then in Solidworks using an open-source shoe file from GrabCAD. We built the base of the design, a heel, and an arch-support plate, following the general shape of a shoe, then added in- clasps that attach the addition to the shoe.
Challenges we ran into
The biggest challenge for us was figuring out a mechanism to secure the attachment to a shoe and keep it stable at the same time. We cycled through suction, straps, alterations to the shoe, and other concepts before we settled on small clasps around the edges. Since we're working on a fashion project, we also had to put a lot of consideration into the aesthetics of the design and how to make it appeal to people with a variety of fashion styles.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We personally wanted this product for ourselves, so bringing it to life also seems like a major accomplishment! The fact that the mechanism is so simple, gives us the assurance that it would work easily on a lot of footwear options present in the market. At the same time, we started this project as strangers, so coming together and working on a project that both of us truly believed in, gave us the complete essence of a true Make-a-thon experience!
What we learned
We learned a lot about CAD software (Fusion 360, Solidworks) and how to model prototypes using it (and how frustrating it can be to try to translate a picture in your head into a 3D model). We also learned about how rewarding a fun project can be and emphasizing that over external pressures.
What's next for Attach-a-Heel
Different types of heels can be modified in a similar manner with types and colors. We can also work to make the heel height adaptable to make it fit for a wider range of occasions.