Never heard of Urshuz? You will soon enough.
Perhaps you’ve read about Art Center Product Design alumnus and faculty member Grant Delgatty’s entry, the Soleman Redemption, into last month’s Red Bull Soapbox Race in downtown L.A. The vehicle Delgatty drove—which could shed its layers to transform from a shoe, to a sandal, to a sole—was essentially a moving advertisement for his new line of footwear, Urshuz, whose main hook is that consumers can mix and match shoe uppers and soles into a variety of material and color combinations.
Urshuz (pronounced “yer shoes”) are currently available for purchase at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, DNA Footwear in Brooklyn, ShoeLab in Quebec and a number of other retail locations. And next month, Delgatty’s line hits the big time when the customizable shoes will be available at Urban Outfitters stores nationwide.
We sat down with Delgatty—whose history in the footwear industry includes stints designing for K-Swiss, heading up design at DVS Shoes and holding the position of Vans’ director of design for seven years—to get to the very sole of Urshuz.
Dotted Line: How did Urshuz come about?
Grant Delgatty: I’ve been in the footwear industry for a long time, and one of the growing trends I’ve observed is that consumers want to express themselves and they want to feel connected to their products. I set out to develop a method in which a consumer could become more involved in the design process of their footwear.