Our second project topic for ENGR 251 is “product for other 90s”, in other words, product for people in developing countries. After doing a lot of brainstorming, we decided to focus on foot wear. In many developing nations, families cannot afford to buy shoes for their children. So children have to go school by bare feet, which allows many serious parasitic diseases absorbed and damages the feet by sharp items on the road.
“Sole Saver is an affordable alternative to normal shoes with reasonable durability. The product protects vulnerable feet from the ground using hardened glue or resin on the bottom of a sock. The idea behind this very simple design is that a local craftsmen could be trained to make and sell these shoes in their communities. Once an individual has experience fabricating Sole Savers, pairs can be sold for less than $1.”
Figure 1: Sole Saver prototype
“The benefit of the Sole Saver is that it costs less than expensive sneakers, but provides more protection than sandals. The simplicity of the design allows for easy repair and maintenance on the product, and it is affordable enough so that new pairs can be purchased when they wear out or are outgrown. Since they can be made from any type of socks, the Sole Saver allows for the possibility of customization for any color and pattern. Additionally, if the shoes are manufactured locally instead of being shipped from overseas, this business plan also creates jobs.
However, there are several costs associated with this product. The Sole Saver is not as durable as traditional sneakers, and so they will need to be repaired or replaced more often. Moreover, there is the social implication of wearing something different — people may not want these shoes if they are viewed as unfashionable. There is also a small learning curve that would have to be overcome when teaching new craftsmen to manufacture and market the products.”