Are Folding Shoes the Answer to the World’s Problems?

Unifold shoes could save the developing world from foot painAs a Houston podiatrist, I’m here to tell you that shoes are a very important tool in the battle against foot pain. And while many people (especially my wife!) have a vast collection of shoes designed for everything from exercise to partying, you may be shocked to find out that more than 300 million people in developing countries around the world don’t have one single pair.

This number is shocking, considering the fact that without shoes, your feet are left without support and are vulnerable to injuries, infection and discomfort. In order to help those who do not have their own shoes, a team of students has gotten together to develop Unifold. Two students at Pratt Institute, Haratio Yuxin Han and Kevin Crowley, have developed the concept of Unifold, a shoe that can be made from just one piece of recyclable material; the shoe is then given its shape by folding out over the cut-out pattern.

The shoes would be made from affordable and supportive foam rubber; with the prefabricated design,  Unifold shoes would be simple to manufacture, also making them extremely affordable and accessible to people in desperate need of shoes.

For now, Unifold is only in the development stage, but its creators are working on two different designs of Unifolds: an Asian-style slipper and an intricate sandal. Some people think that Unifold could eliminate the need for any type of production process, since, in theory, anyone could download the pattern to make his or her own shoes. To get a pair of shoes from the pattern, all you’d have to do is cut and fold a sheet of foam rubber, all while following the proper design pattern.

Fortunately for me and most of my blog readers, we don’t have to worry about going barefoot because we don’t have shoes. We do, however, have to contend with foot pain and, while I can’t yet solve the world’s shoe shortage problem, I can help you walk without discomfort when you are wearing shoes and when you’re going barefoot, too. If you are experiencing foot pain of any kind, schedule an appointment to see me at Tanglewood Foot Specialists today.



Dr. Andrew Schneider
Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX.