The way we carry ourselves says a lot about how we present ourselves and can be an active part of our self-perception. In some cultures, it is said that the first impressions we receive from our surroundings come through the soles of our feet. We have shoes in various forms that we choose from daily; we have shoes to solve practical challenges, shoes to elevate us above others, and shoes to support a narrative about who we are.
The high heel in the Western world has become a feminine symbol, but previously, it granted status to men, such as the high heel in the military. In China, it was a status symbol to bind feet, even if it meant some women lost the ability to walk. Some view bare feet as a symbol of poverty, while others see bare feet as a sex symbol.
In a design task, students were required to delve into a persona – someone they admire/wonder about – and design shoes with this specific user in mind. This helps make the design process focused and precise.