Can Rocket Scientists Create A Comfortable High Heel?

Photo: Courtesy of Thesis Couture.
If we can send people to the moon, why can't we design a comfortable high heel? It's that seemingly rhetorical question that Dolly Singh set out to answer when she founded her shoe company, Thesis Couture. In an interview with Business Insider, Singh explains that her former career as a tech recruiter in southern California led her to the idea of creating the world's first "high-performance stilettos."

"When you’re surrounded by some of the smartest people on the planet," Singh said, "building some of the biggest and most badass machines on this world, the idea that my shoes are such crap became really obnoxiously unbearable." Amen to that.

Determined to change that, Singh reached out to an actual astronaut and rocket scientist working at SpaceX, a private spacecraft manufacturer. Approaching the problem from an engineering standpoint, Singh asked the scientist not to design a better high heel, but to recreate the high heel's "chassis" to better-support a wearer's weight. The idea is to take the pressure off the ball of your foot — where a typical stiletto puts most of the wearer's weight — and redistribute it across the entire foot, for a heel that wears just a little more like a flat.

And since rocket scientists aren't known for their chic way with footwear, Singh also enlisted MIT and Stanford grad Amanda Parkes as her company's "Fashion Scientist," tasked with translating this redesigned heel into something fashionable women will actually want to wear. In other words, Easy Spirits these are not.

Thesis Couture is still prototyping the shoe, so the design and materials aren't finalized yet, but the company expects to make 1,500 shoes available for pre-order this fall for about $900, with future versions of the shoe starting at $350. For now, women sick of keeping their purses stocked with Band-Aids and Dr. Scholl's can sign up on the company's website to be notified when the first pairs are in — we'll also be road-testing a pair and will report back here.

In the meantime, Singh acknowledges that her shoe is not about offering Converse-level comfort: "It’s a stiletto. It’s never going to feel like a tennis shoe. But it doesn’t have to feel like a torture device either.” In a brave new world where even Barbie's wearing flats, that's a promise that's long overdue. (Business Insider)
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