A common pet peeve for parents became the subject of four students’ manufacturing and design engineering capstone project.
Last fall, Joanne Park ’23, Callista Sukohardjo ’23, Ben Miller ’23 and Sarah John ’23 surveyed friends and family about everyday annoyances, gathering ideas for an invention. Park’s aunt lamented having to buy new winter boots every year for her young kids.
“The shoe industry is very wasteful,” says Sukohardjo. “Parents end up having to throw out perfectly decent winter boots, as their children quickly outgrow them.”
While some size-adjustable footwear exists, such as sandals and rollerblades, the team noticed a gap in the market for everyday winter footwear. So they designed winter boots that can expand up to three sizes, tentatively called Sno-Gro Boots. The team filed a provisional patent and met with manufacturers this past spring to discuss how to optimize the design and manufacturing process. “If we can increase the lifespan of the boot while keeping it at an affordable price,” Sukohardjo says, “that not only saves consumers money, that saves on materials and allows for sustainability.”