Dezeen Magazine

United Nude and Issey Miyake experiment with wood and leather for Rock and Wrap shoes

Dutch footwear brand United Nude has teamed up with Japanese fashion label Issey Miyake to create two new designs – a fragmented platform sandal with a wooden sole and a wrapped leather shoe.

United Nude founder and architect Rem D Koolhaas teamed up with Issey Miyake's head of womenswear Yoshiyuki Miyamae to create the two new shoe styles, which debuted at the fashion brand's Spring Summer 2017 collection show in Paris last week.

United Nude for Issey Miyake
Models at Issue Miyake's Spring Summer 2017 collection presentation in Paris wore the Rock shoes, created in collaboration with United Nude

The Rock and Wrap shoes are based on Japanese fashion designer and brand founder Issey Miyake's Ten Sen Men – or point, line and surface – concept.

The Rock shoe is reminiscent of traditional Japanese platform sandals and features a fragmented base made from wood. Feet are secured into the curved sole using adjustable leather straps.

The shape of the sole is meant to suggest that the shoe has been cut from a piece of rock. The front curves up to enable the wearer to walk naturally, and the design will be available in white, black, pink, beige, yellow and green.

The Wrap shoe features an upper made from a single piece of silver, white or black leather wrapped around the foot and attached to the sole.

An elastic section around the opening for the foot lends the structure of the shoes extra flexibility.

It will be available either as a flat shoe or with a small heel that is either covered in leather or a mirrored finish.

United Nude for Issey Miyake
The Rock shoes feature a fragmented platform sole made from wood

The two companies are known for their innovative approaches to materials. United Nude launched 13 years ago with the radical Möbius shoe and was one of the first commercial brands to sell 3D-printed footwear.

Issey Miyake is world-famous for its unusual textiles, including an entire label dedicated to pleated fabric and a range of clothing where each garment is made from a single piece of material.

"I considered making shoes that have the functionality needed for daily comfort and which flatter a woman's foot to be the ultimate form of product design," said Miyamae, who was appointed head of Issey Miyake womenswear in 2011 after working with the brand for 10 years.

"Rem D Koolhaas' attitude towards actively incorporating new materials, technologies and constantly pursuing innovative shoe-making, resonates with Issey Miyake's perspective on clothes-making," he added.

"The collection contains simple, beautiful products designed from the viewpoint of structural dynamics."

United Nude for Issey Miyake
The design is intended to suggest that the sole has been hewn from a piece of rock

In a 2014 interview with Dezeen, Miyamae told Dezeen that the brand's main focus was to innovate with new technologies, with recent examples including a new type of fabric that contracts into rigid structures when exposed to steam and material with baked-in pleats.

It is not the first time that United Nude has teamed up with a well-known fashion designer to create shoes for a specific collection. Koolhaas has previously collaborated with Iris van Herpen to make crescent-shaped boots and shoes that look like tree roots.

The brand has also previously worked with leading architects including Zaha Hadid and Ben van Berkel.