Photo by Maren Sonne

At the Miss America Show Us Your Shoes Parade on Saturday, September 13, Miss Georgia will show off a pair of shoes with 3-D printed parts—a feature never before seen at the Parade.

These Ramblin’ Wreck-themed wedges were created by Maren Sonne, 3rd year ID, and Jordan Thomas, 3rd year ID, and Julia Brooks, 2nd year ID.  The team designed the Ramblin’ Wreck -themed wedges for another Tech student, none other than Miss Georgia or Maggie Bridges, 4th year BA major.

The shoes were unveiled at the President’s Annual Institute Address on August 28.

“It’s really the first 3d printed shoe that’s nationally covered in like pop culture,” said Thomas. “There’s people [that] do 3-D printed shoes, [but] that’s really underground and no one really knows about it.”

The headlights and four tires (with shoe-tread detail) were made with 3-D printers, and the car’s grill was created from laser cutters available in the Architecture building’s design shop.

“As industrial designers we use that stuff a lot,” said Sonne. She feels that the shoe construction “shows our school…everything that Tech can give us.”

The three students answered an email sent out by Troy Whyte, Academic Advisor of the School of Industrial Design, about the opportunity to work with Bridges to develop the shoes.

The entire process spanned approximately four weeks, starting from mid-July to the wee hours of assembling the shoes on Monday, August 25.  During that time, they consulted with Bridges and her dress designer to complete the outfit.

“She wanted it to be…a little more girly…more school spirit and historical rather than just based off of science,” said Sonne.  The designers originally wanted the theme to be based on science and technology, rather than Georgia Tech.

This project that transformed a pair of $60 brown leather wedges into miniature Model T’s ended up costing around $400.  The cost included testing of suitable material, glue and type of shoe.

“So if we could do it again, we could probably do it for a 100 dollars  easily—2 pieces of acrylic, 1 piece of cardboard, a thing of chipboard, one thing of sparkles, some wire,”  said Sonne.  She joked that if she were making those shoes for sale, they would still have a $400 price tag.

The shoes have already gotten a lot of attention on social media and 3-D printing websites around the country. “I saw on Facebook there’s like a lot of people like ‘oh I want to buy them, how much are they, do they come in a size seven’?” said Thomas.  Sonne suggested that these shoes could also be worn on occasions like game days and graduation.

The team members all agreed that constructing the shoes was a great learning experience, because they had the opportunity to interact with clients, using laser-cut acrylic, and even learning women’s shoe design.

“I think what makes us an effective team is [that] we bring a lot of different elements to the table,” said Sonne.   “[Julia seems] pretty good at figuring out the technical stuff like fitting the things around and figuring out the patterns…and Jordan [is] easygoing…and work[s] well with other people.”  Brooks added that Sonne acted like the glue, both in terms of the team dynamic and as the gluer of elements to the shoe.

“The goal was to give Maggie this attention.  We wanted her shoe to be super cool and dramatic so she would get all this press beforehand because that’s going to help her win Miss America,” said Brooks.

Bridges will spend Monday through Thursday in preliminary rounds of the pageant and Saturday at the parade.