Students at Detroit’s College for Creative Studies are redesigning the footwear that Olympic luge racers could be wearing in future international competition.
USA Luge, in conjunction with White Castle restaurants, has asked students in the CCS Soleology Footwear Design course to redesign the “bootie” that lugers wear when streaking down ice-covered mountain tracks at speeds approaching 90 mph.
“Design students learn a lot in the classroom, but the real-world experience they get by working on real projects for real organizations is what makes the education at CCS so exceptional,” says Kate Lees, associate director of communications at CCS. “We really appreciate USA Luge giving our students this wonderful opportunity.”
The 14 students in the design class recently met with Gordy Sheer, a luge Olympic silver medalist and now director of marketing and sponsorships for USA Luge. The students also watched point-of-view videos of luge athletes in action. They laid on a luge sled, and tried on helmets, booties, and other luge gear. The activities were designed to immerse the students in the sport of luge so they understand what luge athletes need in a luge boot.
“We would like to see a few modifications to the current shoes, including improved adhesives and function and better construction methodology,” says Sheer. “We’re happy to give the students this opportunity, and we look forward to seeing what they come up with.”
Any significant findings and developments will be presented to the International Luge Federation for consideration in future luge shoe design.
White Castle has been a partner of USA Luge since 2017, sponsoring the annual White Castle USA Luge Slider Search, an off-season athlete recruitment program critical to the growth of the sport. The search program was responsible for discovering 65 percent of all current junior athletes in the USA Luge system and three of six athletes competing in the 2019 Luge World Championships.