THE ERA OF THE HYDRAULIC HEEL IS HERE THANKS TO SILVIA FADO

“Since the first pair I made, I knew this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.” For Silvia Fado, footwear is more than a vocation, it’s a calling. With a background in architecture and knitwear, Fado found a way to combine her talents for the greater heeled good. “I have always loved shoes and in them is everything I like—creativity from fashion, structural development from architecture and my passion for footwear,” says the London College of Fashion graduate.

Her intriguing Kinetic Traces collection explores both the relationship between the movement of the body and fashion footwear design and high performance sports footwear and body movement. “I wanted to create something really strong that would contribute something new to the footwear world,” says Fado. “Developing heels at an engineering level is difficult and it would not have been possible without the help of my industrial partners.”

Fado enlisted a team of experts to achieve her final vision. As they say, it takes a village and in this case, one of highly talented industry leaders. An architect: to help her study the interacting forces in the structure of the high heeled shoe during movement. A photographer: who made it possible to see the continuous movement broken down into individual parts as a diagram. An engineer: to develop these mechanisms and an industrial partner to enable production of the final product.

All of this, stemming from Fado’s analysis of the comfort elements in footwear, particularly impact absorption, shoe weight, traction (the relationship between shoe and surface) and upper durability. “Kinetic Traces, is about creating comfortable heels. I created hydraulic heels to absorb the impact during motion getting a considerable improvement in comfort in a fashion context,” says Fado.

Fado combined traditional footwear manufacturing techniques (leather work, traditional machinery making, metal work, wood shaping) with rapid prototyping (3D milling machine, laser cutting and 3D printing) to create a truly revolutionary heel that for Fado, represents femininity, self confidence, history and beauty. “I want the wearer to feel comfortable, beautiful, modern and strong,” she says.

At the forefront of innovative design, we’re looking forward to taking the hydraulic heel for a test run. “I have been always interested in clever and functional design,” says Fado. And on behalf of heavenly heel wearers everywhere we thank you. — J.S.