Blue Panel Steel Conceptual Shoe: Alternative to High Heels

Highly acclaimed Dutch shoe designer, Marloes ten Bhomer, is known for her otherworldly, avant-garde designs. Her work is experimental and dares to blend technology, engineering and artistry with the goal of rediscovering the wonder of footwear. She has developed a conceptual shoe that is made from a molded piece of leather designed to specifically fit the contours of the human foot more closely than the traditional high heel. It replaces the standard, usually flat sole with a slanted panel of stainless steel on the outer edge via a leather-covered steel loop that acts as a foot support.


Blue Panel ShoeBlue Panel Shoe

The Blue Panel Steel Conceptual Shoe

Marloes spent years  researching this shoe under the auspices of a fellowship at the Stanley Picker Gallery at London's Kingston University. Her anatomy and movement studies delved deeply into the manner in which high heels are constructed from an engineering point of view as well as their cultural connotations. She designed a series of potential high heels, each one representing a single foot-to-ground contact point she calls a "constellation." The movement data, which included the manner in which high heels strike the side of the foot to propel forward movement, became the basis for the Blue Panel Steel shoe.


Conceptual ShoeConceptual Shoe

In her own words:

"The resulting heel design derived from these parameters would make the foot prone to eversion and inversion...In order to negate this motion, a ring-shaped constellation of contact is placed around the foot. this new set of parameters, which shirk fashion trends, allows for new shoe typologies,which defy cultural stigmas that too often lead to stereotyping of women...I hope to expand footwear's spectrum. In turn, I aim to design shoes which do not conform women to clichéd roles. while also exposing and questioning the  role high heels play in the cultural construction of female identity."

Who is Marloes Ten Bhomer?

The winner of numerous grants, awards and fellowships, this shoe designer specialized in design at the Arnheim Academy in Holland, and is a graduate of Royal College of Art in London, England, where she lives and works. She is considered to be one of the most promising shoe designers of her generation, and her work defies conventionality and challenges all known boundaries of product and shoe design.


Marloes Ten BhomerMarloes Ten Bhomer

The shoe is the endless source of her inspiration  and all of her creations have simple names that reflect what they are, how they are made and challenge conventional beliefs. Bhomer is internationally known as both a designer and a lecturer, and her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries all over the world.

Is her success as well deserved as it is noteworthy?

Well, my friends, if the shoe fits...

In what ways do you think the conventional high heel stereotypes women?

Closing thoughts about high heels:

I don't know who invented high heels, but all women owe him a lot. ~ Marilyn Monroe