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Rectangle shoes | M. N. Vaclavek
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Rectangle shoes | M. N. Vaclavek

These rectangular shoes by student designer Maria Nina Vaclavek play on the contrast between geometric forms and the curving shape of the wearers feet.  Maria Nina Vaclavek said that the process used to make her Rectangle shoes was based on the way early humans formed their primitive leather footwear. “I chose the first shoe ever made by man in prehistoric times to brace against cold and chafing as an inspiration,” Vaclavek told Dezeen. “I based my work more on the method of fabrication than the visual aspect of the shoe.”


“The caveman hunted down an animal, skinned it and wrapped the leather – still raw and warm – around his foot where he tightened it with bast,” she continued. “The leather adapts the shape of the user’s foot. I found this technology very interesting and decided to work with it further.”

Adapting this method, Vaclavek wrapped a piece of wet vegetable-tanned leather around a platform and a shoemaker’s last. When it dried, the leather became rigid and formed the solid shape of the shoes.

The last was wider than the platform, so the outline of a foot was created as the leather curved over the shape, showing where the foot sits within the geometric outline.

“The intentional contrast is made by the contradiction of the geometric silhouette and the soft organic shape of human sole,” said Vaclavek.

Openings at the toe and heel allow parts of the foot to peep out from the strict rectangular form. A section of the black sole also extends from the front of the shoe, contrasting with the tan-coloured leather.

“Rectangle shoes are as comfortable as any shoes of this height,” Vaclavek stated. “Although they have an open heel, they don’t function like a slipper because the exact shape of the shoe fixes to your foot.”



Vaclavek designed the shoes while studying at the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen, Czech Republic, and her designs received first prize at the Design Talent 2013 award announced last week.

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