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Cover of the Fall/Winter 2003 SFSU Magazine. Photo of Professor and talk radio show host, Michael Krasny.


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A futuristic-looking sandal made of rubber designed by an SFSU student.

SFSU's Sole Man

Imelda Marcos, meet Arvind Gupta.

Even the world's most famous shoe-aholic might have liked this San Francisco State grad student's award-winning footwear design: a shoe with interchangeable uppers and bottoms.

Gupta's shoe -- which won a gold medal in BusinessWeek's Industrial Design Excellence Awards last summer -- consists of three parts -- frame, upper sleeve and lower sleeve, or sole. The footwear fashionista would buy one plastic frame and outfit it with sleeves of any style of his or her choosing. Gupta's prototype, pictured at left, is a futuristic-looking unisex thong, but a nice little sling-back pump would work, too.

"I even made a high-heeled version. It was pretty funky," said Gupta, 29, who was an options trader before coming to San Francisco State to study design.

Gupta's shoe would make sense moneywise but it's also politically correct. "You wouldn't need any sweatshops because the sleeves are made of injection molded rubber," he said.

Gupta has applied for a patent but since he's not really interested in the shoe business, he has no plans to shop around his idea to manufacturers. The fun part was coming up with the idea and seeing it if would work. "Right now, I'm on to other design work," he said.

-- Matt Itelson

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Last modified February 16, 2004, by the Office of Publications