The One Degree High Performance Dinghy Shoe was designed to protect athletes in high-performance sailing fleets against the sport’s strain on the feet. The shoe aims at being more durable, more flexible, lighter and equipped to drain water without sacrificing protection or body warmth. Current footwear used by sailing athletes fulfills only a limited number of needs. One Degree’s design targets a hybrid solution, taking the benefits from a variety of different styles of footwear to address a greater number of sport-specific expectations.
Sailors are often left borrowing performance products, and in particular footwear, from parallel industries. The One Degree shoe targets the needs of the sport itself at a competitive price. The shoe is more durable than the competition and was directly designed with the demands of the sailing athlete in mind. Users do not have to compromise on comfort and protection for flexibility.
One Degree represents the launch of a brand effort that provides high-performance products to sailing athletes. The brand aims to grow from footwear into apparel and digital training in an effort to champion the sport at a global scale and lower the entry barrier to up-and-coming athletes.
The biggest challenge with the development of One Degree was creating the business case for launching a brand from the ground up. With the industry of high-performance sailing being relatively small in comparison to parallel industries such as surfing, the space for a profitable innovative product remained small. It was essential, however, to launch an effort that stood free of existing brands on the market. Current sailing athletes are rather isolated geographically, thus assisting greatly in the sport’s segmentation, allowing for only the more traditional and mainstream sailing look to be applicable to audiences outside of the sport. This has pushed nautical apparel brands to develop very little technology, while making most profits off of sailing lifestyle apparel.
Subsidizing the costs of manufacturing while still promising a durable, reliable and performance-driven product was the foremost challenge. Working on site with Hong Kong manufacturers ensured that the design would be competitive. The shoe is easy to manufacture, easy to assemble and easy to disassemble. A common problem is the fast deterioration of neoprene often forcing users to purchase an entirely new shoe: In this case, the neoprene lining is replaceable, allowing for a longer-lasting product with easily interchangeable parts. The aesthetics of the shoe are also trend-defining and are designed to appeal to a younger and more extreme audience.
Designed by Nina Viggi of Art Center College of Design
Founded in 1930, Art Center College of Design has long been at the forefront of cultivating leaders in the fields of art and design. From its seminal role in the founding of the first advanced-design concept studio for the automotive industry in the 1950s, to being the first design school to receive the United Nations non-governmental organization (NGO) status, to its commitment to having art and design play a role in addressing sustainability issues, Art Center has a history of anticipating societal changes and trends.
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