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Project Challenge: A quest to make a better climbing shoe.

15 Mar, 2016

At Aura, our greatest weakness is also our greatest strength: We started with no experience in the shoe design/manufacturing industry, so everything we learned we learned from scratch.  This is a serious and daunting task, yet also a great asset: We are limited by nothing but our imagination and free to objectively explore our ideas and beliefs. We can imagine what a climbing shoe should be, then determined, make it.
The results of Project:Challenge will be a climb shoe unlike anything else on the market, with our hope of bringing more people into the sport we love, and enabling them to follow their passion for adventure in a more ambitious and robust way.

So where are we now?

  • Custom shoe lasts are arriving soon from Italy.  Our design is dependent on the shape of the last, so this is a key part to moving forward with a model closer to production.
  • Our entire production line and process is figured out, ready for pulling the trigger on a final prototype.
  • Kickstarter anticipated beginning: summer 2016

The DNA of the shoe (last, sole, upper, closure) is completely custom to Aura and we will use a production process that is also unique to climbing shoes.  This is not simply "just another climbing shoe".

It took nearly 70 hand stitched versions of uppers (67, so far), and roughly 17 versions of soles, to validate the idea we've envisioned.
But we did it.
This is a difficult process to embark on, when you have literally no skill in the field of handling materials or stitching or industrial processes. But, if you keep going, if you believe and want it strong enough, it will happen, and it will change more than just your ability to stitch, it will change you as a person.
The act of creation, in and of itself, is an act of spiritual engagement. You are confronting the unknown, the intangible, and grabbing hold of it. At first with just a finger or two, but eventually with both hands and very tight.


Truly: When we create, we exist.
There is no greater triumph of human experience than to make; and no greater accomplishment than to continue on that path in the face of regular and sustained failure.  That is the point of this Project.
To continually and repeatedly approach the unknown. To develop a method from this sustained acquaintance with the unsure. With the never been done..
There is an unknown that exists in the human experience, and it can only be reckoned by continuing to confront new challenges.  Only by making those ideas, those sparks of inspiration, into tangible processes and methods, is there opportunity to grow.  One must accept where they are, and, determined, plan a course for where they would like to be and then move toward it.


As Aura moves forward, from the tinkerings and drawings and hours of talk about what a climb shoe should be, through the multitude of hand stitched and hand cut validation trials, we keep this in mind.  The end game of this project is the better climb shoe, but it's also to experience, to live, to grow.  To learn.  To create. And to help others realize their ambitions and goals.  As we ourselves continue to push into the unknown, into the great precision and learning curves of digital shoe design, we ask that you continue to  engage the unknown in your own lives.
To find that project that enthralls and keeps you up at night.
Once you find that, you have found purpose, and purpose is everything.

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2 comments

George

March 05, 2018

I’m curious. Did you finish your climbing shoe prototype? What was your plan with the cast rubber? Make cast the sole or the midsole?

I have a friend that name Spencer that resole shoes in Chattanooga and he casts the shoes to make a last. He is always having trouble with Vibram and purchasing rubber

Spencer

May 14, 2019

Hey George, The climbing shoe project is on hold at the moment as we found it was much more difficult than we expected. We may revisit this in the future when we have some experienced shoe industry help on our side. Sorry we can’t be of more help to you!
Spencer

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