Marloes ten Bhömer's Bluepanelshoe is an alternative to conventional "clichéd" high heels


Dutch shoe designer Marloes ten Bhömer has created a conceptual shoe that replaces the traditional high heel with a slanted panel of stainless steel on the side.

Marloes ten Bhömer's Bluepanelshoe

The Bluepanelshoe is made from a moulded piece of leather that holds the wearer's foot, and is designed to fit its contours more closely than the usual flat sole.

This is attached to a steel panel on the outer edge by a leather-covered steel loop that also supports the foot. The panel slants underneath the sole to create an unconventional heel.

The shoe was developed after research carried out by Ten Bhömer during a fellowship at the Stanley Picker Gallery at Kingston University, in London.

Marloes ten Bhömer's Bluepanelshoe

The designer explored the cultural connotations of women's footwear, as well as the way high heels are constructed.

After carrying out anatomic and movement studies, Ten Bhömer designed a series of 17 hypothetical high heels, each one created as a representation of foot-to-ground contact points, or "constellations" as she calls them.

Marloes ten Bhömer's Bluepanelshoe

The Bluepanelshoe is based on this movement data, and takes into account the way high heels strike the lateral side of the foot to propel the wearer forward.

"The resulting heel design derived from these parameters would make the foot prone to eversion and inversion," said the designer, who previously created a pair of shoes pressed from just three pieces of leather.

Marloes ten Bhömer's Bluepanelshoe

"In order to negate this motion a ring-shaped constellation of contact is placed around the foot," she added. "This new set of parameters, which shirk fashion trends, allows for new shoe typologies which defy cultural stigmas that too often lead to the stereotyping of women."

The piece was originally designed for the London Design Museum's Life On Foot exhibition, and will also be shown in touring exhibition Coded_Couture at the Pratt Manhattan gallery in New York. The show will open on 12 February 2016 and continue until 30 April.

Marloes ten Bhömer's Bluepanelshoe

"I hope to expand footwear's spectrum," said Ten Bhömer. "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."

Other unusual footwear covered by Dezeen includes Dutch designer Troy Nachtigall's 3D-printed heels, Royal College of Art graduate Ammo Liao's Bio-Knit trainers with a woven upper, and Studio Swine's aluminium foam high heels designed to look like chunks of extraterrestrial rock.

  • Kate

    Please don’t walk on my timber floors wearing those. Great for cutting pizza though!

    • Guest

      Not quite as damaging as stilettos (I shudder at the thought), but timber floor adversaries nevertheless.

  • Simone B

    Marloes ten Bhömer is a woman, not a “he”. They look to be crafted beautifully. Lovely addition to her work.

  • Concerned Citizen

    The purpose of heels is two-fold: to increase stature, and to enhance the foot/leg. This fails on the latter.

  • thepixinator

    What is it with the Dutch and their fantastic footwear fetish? This is completely unwearable, even as art and still conforms women into clichéd roles. You would be completely hobbled by these shoes as you would constantly be struggling to keep them on. There’s a reason shoes have uppers that cover the toes, especially a heeled shoe, which pushes you forward. It is to keep them on your feet! Whatever…they’re not even attractive. Scuba-flipper blue? Weird choice.