Roderick Pieters' Loper shoes are assembled with rope rather than glue

Japanese footwear designer Roderick Pieters and fashion brand Proef have created pairs of easy-to-assemble shoes that are tied together instead of using glue (+ movie).

The Loper shoes, which launched on Kickstarter at the end of last month, were designed by Pieters and Proef to address problems caused by production and distribution methods in the current fashion industry.

Loper footwear

"We wanted to fabricate the footwear in a responsible way: less harmful for workers, lower carbon footprint and less waste, so we had to start from scratch," Pieters told Dezeen.

This prompted the designers to develop a glueless construction method, using a thin nylon rope to tie the shoes together instead. Each shoe can easily be assembled by hand and repaired by the owner if necessary.

Loper footwear

"I wanted the shoes to be like a bike," Pieters said. "When your tyre is worn out you can just replace it and you can do it yourself."

A rubber sole, and a leather insole and upper are all tied together using the nylon rope, by threading it through holes in each of the pieces.

Loper footwear

The upper wraps up over the foot and is secured by shoelaces. It is cut into different shapes to create two unisex styles, called the Macalon and the Derby.

The rubber soles come in different colours, including white and yellow, while the leather is available in black or white. As the shoes can be reassembled by the owner, they can also mix-and-match combinations to create a custom style.

Loper footwear

Underneath, an indented edge in the rubber sole hides the rope and prevents it from being torn when the shoe is worn.

By eradicating the use of glue, Pieters hopes to create healthier working environments and cause a change in the current fashion industry.

Loper footwear

"As a shoe maker and designer I know the effect of the glue that is used in the shoe industry," said Pieters. "After a day of working with it you feel dizzy and kind of high so imagine if you are exposed to the vapours every day."

"Every time I visit a shoe factory I almost feel bad about being part of it," he added.

Loper footwear

The team also intends to prevent unnecessary transportation by sourcing the leather locally to where the shoe is assembled.

"We only produce the soles in China and add the leather locally." explained Pieters. "Instead of shipping one pair of shoes you can ship four pairs of soles."

Loper footwear

At the time of writing, the project has raised almost €10,000 (£7,900) towards its €25,000 (£19,700) Kickstarter crowdfunding target.

Other designers have also explored ways that footwear can be produced in a more sustainable way, by addressing the choice of material. Examples include Adidas' prototype of shoe with an upper made entirely from recycled ocean waster, while Ammo Liao created bio-knit trainers from a single material.