Shoe school gives Oregon a leg up

Shoe school gives Oregon a leg up

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by Joe Smith

kgw.com

Posted on June 22, 2012 at 5:19 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 22 at 8:59 PM

PORTLAND - Portland is the epicenter for athletic and outdoor apparel, a huge part of which is shoes.

To help bring new ideas of design and innovation to the marketplace, there is the Pensole Footwear Design Academy. It's the only one of its kind in the country to let students learn from the best in the country.

The name Pensole is a combination of the word pencil and sole of a shoe. The academy is a master class in learning by doing.

For its current class, Adidas teamed with Pensole to bring 15 students from around the country to Portland to think outside the shoebox.

Students broke into groups, each with an assignment to design a shoe using a time in history as the starting point, from the 1940s, through the 1980s.

Students design everything from running shoes to ski boots.

All the designing is done by hand using a No. 2 pencil and paper.  Pensole founder D'Wayne Edwards says it's the best way to really learn.

"Color's a distraction, computers are a distraction, if you do it by hand, you're more emotionally connected to what you create," said Edwards.

After each student whittles down eight designs to one, they make a 3D clay model.

The course is three weeks, six days a week, twelve hours a day. Finals are June 22nd. Each students gets five minutes to present their designs in front of 30 to 40 Adidas executives.

It's a chance for the executives to learn more about the designers and their work. It's also more likely one of the students could be hired by Adidas.

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