Upcycle Final Report: Shoe Trophy

Presentation Link

The Project:

I wanted to find a use for my old pair of shoes, other than sitting in the back of my closet. I wanted a way to get the shoes to move, this ended up being by a bearing allowing the shoes to spin. I also wanted to do some woodworking for this project. Woodworking is something that I’ve enjoyed but not gotten to do very much of.

The Inspiration:

I have had this pair of shoes for seven years. The day that they finally ripped to the point that they were unwearable I was devastated; I immediately ordered another pair. I had been through a lot with these shoes and I couldn’t bring myself to throw them away, they sat in the back of my closet until I could think of a good use for them. I saw an opportunity to challenge myself; by being an artist, and by taking something that is very un-aesthetically pleasing and make it aesthetically pleasing.


I originally described my vision for this project by describing it as a trophy. I realized that this was misleading, I didn’t mean trophy in terms of to signify an accomplishments but more in looking for a trophy. A better description would have been to describe it as a centerpiece. More than anything I wanted a way to display my pair of shoes so I could look at them every day and remember everything we’d gone through.

Design Loop:

My design loop turned out to not be much of a loop. I didn’t put enough thought into my design loop before I started the project so my design loop ended up being linear. If I could have improved on my design loop I would have preferred to include some iteration. The key to adding this to my design loop would be to start my project early and constantly go back to the design and idea stage to add enchantments.

Functional Goal:

I defiantly achieved my functional goal. I know have a way to display my shoes which was the main objective. I was also able to incorporate movement into my project. Lastly I was able to get into the wood shop and grow my skill in the topic.


Artistic Goal:

I am not sure that I achieved my artistic goal, unfortunately my project is still kind of ugly. I think the biggest reason I failed to achieve this goal is because I neglected the wood too much. I thought the natural color of the wood would bring out the color in the rugged leather but rather it just looked rough and unfinished.

What’s Next?:

To achieve more of my artistic goal I would like to do more with the wood. Two easy things that could be done to the wood is stain it to make it seem more refined and also wood burn the years I had the shoes into the side of the wood. A more difficult thing I could do would be to cut a chamber alone the top edge of the bottom piece of wood.


Previous Post
Upcycle Final Report: Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden
Next Post
Upcycle Final Report: Beer Bottles

13 Comments. Leave new

  • I admire the mechanism used to rotate the shoes! As for the aesthetics of the trophy, I suggest adding a casing for the shoes. Although that would most likely not be upcycled, it would make the trophy look for aesthetically pleasing alongside all the other changes that you mentioned.

  • I really appreciate that you used something dear and near to your heart for your project. Instead of sitting in the closet, the shoes are now properly displayed for all to admire. Though your aesthetic may have been lacking (like you mentioned, additions of wood burning or staining would’ve been nice), you made up for it with dynamic function. Lastly, I like that you talked about the skills you improved on. Wood working is a valuable skill and it was interesting that you incorporated that learning process into your project.

  • It’s great that you went the extra mile and made it move! I really appreciate that you had clear goals. Your project is has a lot of potential and holds value. Some color/stain or some work on the base would have made it better but I do like the simplistic look of the project. Some folks preserve baby shoes and this would be a terrific way to do it.

  • Good job challenging yourself with the rotating feature. I like the juxtaposition of old and tattered and new and fresh, while marrying the two as an award. It’s interesting that your actual project part (the wooden stand) of the upcycle project wasn’t totally the upcycle part. I like that you chose to display something not as art per say, but as an upcycle accomplishment. Cool spin on the project prompt!

  • Alexandra Rivas
    February 13, 2017 12:24 pm

    This is clever. It kind of makes me laugh because I’d never think of something like this. Old shoes really do hold so many memories though, so showcasing them is almost like hanging photos on a wall. Very cool.

  • You commented that your design loop was not what you wanted it to be because you wanted more of an opportunity to iterate. Do you feel as though your design process came to you as you were going or did you set it up that way beforehand and then cut out some steps? Would you incorporate some sort of timeline to stay on track? I like the sentimentality of your project. It meets the definition of Upcycle very well since you have repurposed something as art!

  • Gautham Govindarajan
    February 13, 2017 12:23 pm

    Really appreciate your work and you taking the time to make a CAD model before you start to build anything. Did you have a certain aesthetic in mind before starting with the design or did you just went with where your design took you.

  • I’m glad you were able to incorporate something that has been with you for a long time–we all have favorite shirts, hats, shoes, etc. and being able to maintain them as something treasured is pretty cool. But what’s the purpose of the trophy? You don’t discuss what it signifies or honors, I’m having trouble seeing what the motivation is. You were going for “artistic” and “aesthetically pleasing” but the wood is very rough, isn’t really appealing to me. Despite that, good work on 100% recycled materials! I know I wasn’t able to complete my project with that degree of upcyclery, so it’s cool to see that in yours.

  • Siddharth Nigam
    February 13, 2017 12:22 pm

    Great mix of creativity and engineering process. Great presenting too – confident, humorous, and succinct.

  • To be honest, it’s pretty gross, but you made it look cool — it’s almost like a modern art piece. I love that it spins!

  • Very creative use for some old shoes. The final trophy came out nicely and displays the shoes in a predominant manner. This is a cool project since it let you follow some of your passions and complete some woodworking and such. The trophy looks fun to spin and could probably keep someone entertained for quite a while.

  • Siddharth Nigam
    February 13, 2017 12:18 pm

    CAD renderings show that you were really invested in the project! Great work.

  • Siddharth Nigam
    February 13, 2017 12:16 pm

    Nice professional CU Boulder background!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.