Zest - Running shoes for people with cerebral palsy

  • Prize
    Winner in Sportswear Design / Walking & Running
  • University
    ECAL - École cantonale d'art de Lausanne
  • Lead Designer
    Yoosung Kim
  • Professor Credit
    Camille Blin, Augustin Scott de Martinville and Sebastian Wrong (Professor)
  • Contributor(Other)
    Taegyu Ha (Athelte), On (Company), Kuraray(Company), and Ttk (Company)
  • Photo Credit
    Donghwan Song, Fumi Omori
  • Design Status
  • Project Link
  • Web URL

Cerebral palsy is one of the most common diseases. According to recent research, It occurs in about 3 per 1,000 live births. I happened to meet a running club for people with cerebral palsy. There was a man with cerebral palsy. He can’t control the right side of his body. He said wearing shoes is always challenge for him. I was wondering what the professional athletes think about it. I interviewed two athletes with cerebral palsy. Even for them it is hard to wear shoes. They always ask their coach to tie the shoelaces. After several interviews, I decided to make easy on/off shoes, also it can provide a function to tighten people’s own fit.

Although CP is one of the most common diseases, there is a lack of shoes for them. Slip-on shoes are unsuitable for exercise because they do not hold the foot well. Nowadays, some football boots are laceless shoes, but applying them to shoes for CP is not a correct solution. Moreover, because the opening is much narrower than a regular shoe, it is much harder for them to wear. Zest provides a high level of form-fitting suitable for running while wearing it easily and quickly with a unique structure. It replaces traditional shoelaces while still allowing for fine-grained fit adjustments. Additionally, professional disabled athletes who require a high level of performance might need custom footwear. With 3D knit and 3D print technology, Zest can be individually customized according to their physical abilities. Although it is a shoe for the disabled, in terms of design and aesthetics, it was important to emphasize functionality as with any other performance shoe.

Product Detail
Cerebral palsy is one of the most common diseases. According to recent research, It occurs in about 3 per 1,000 live births. However, there is a lack of shoes for them.

I designed a unique closure system based on feedback from people with CP. When people release the velcro, the opening becomes wider. Then people can slide their feet easily, like wearing slippers. Also, they can adjust their own fit precisely with the additional laced velcro. The upper part is made with 3D knit with a 16-gauge flat knit machine. With 3D knit technology, the pattern can be customized to each person with CP based on the 3D scanned data. Also, the knitted pattern is made of TPU yarn so that it can be used in lightweight and ventilated structures compared with ordinary knitted fabric made of polyamide or polyester. The sole part is made with 3D printing technology and engineered with a generative design tool based on the test result from people with CP. Most of them have different physical abilities. With the generative design tool, people with CP can get their unique sole that meets specific requirements following their physical ability.

The prototype has a standard men's size(US9). There are two different colors. But thanks to 3d knitting and 3d printing technology, it can be engineered based on actual 3d scanned data from people with cerebral palsy.

Yoosung Kim worked as a footwear designer for Japanese sports brand Descente, well known for their minimal and high-tech products. Working as a footwear designer, He developed a new technology for the midsole with 1 patent and created various innovative shoes during 8 seasons.
In 2022, Yoosung Kim is currently enrolled in a master course in product design in ECAL in Switzerland to study long-lasting and sustainable design, after seeing that too many unsustainable products are being made each year in the fashion industry.

  • FIT Seal