Design Week, Day 3
After getting home after 1AM the night before from the road trip to Chicago, the Heroes were shuttled to Rockford, Michigan, bright and early to the world headquarters of Bates Footwear, a Wolverine Worldwide, Inc. (WWW) brand. Each Hero worked with a team of Bates designers to create a one-of-a-kind boot that would represent their powerful story and individual sense of style.
Bates is the #1 supplier to the U.S. Military branches in footwear, so each of these heroes have previously and may still wear Bates branded boots and shoes. Amazingly, some heroes even recounted wearing these boots at the time of their injury, which aided to making this process even more special for many of them.
Their canvas was the Bates Zero Mass boot, which is a lightweight military boot that provided a range of options for the Heroes to craft their style and story on. Amazingly, each hero’s boot is dramatically different from one another even though they utilized the same boot silhouette.
The Bates designers did a great job of walking the Heroes through the design process. They educated them on the thought process behind the components of a boot, the technologies involved, and the overall manufacturing process going from a 2-D concept on paper, to a working prototype, and all the way to the final product sold in stores — or in this case, worn by U.S. Military personnel.
Once the Heroes narrowed down to a single idea or piece of inspiration to work from, the Heroes and Bates designers worked together to map out the materials, specific hardware, and detail pieces before creating a 3-D styled mock-up of their creation.
Each of the Hero’s creations will be produced as a special edition 1-of-1 boot that will be displayed in September during ArtPrize as part of the exhibit that will also feature their Threadless t-shirt designs.
Tech Sergeant Del Toro and his host family for the week (and Wolverine Company Store proprietor), Brian Cousins, were special guests on the morning talk show, Eight West. Earlier in the morning they taped their segment at the TV station, then later in the morning we were all able to take a break from designing to watch their interview segment as it aired.
Watch DT’s inspiring story as he shared it with the show’s hosts, moving them to tears: http://bit.ly/LLgdPe.