Graphic design graduate and artist Mikea Hugley has an idea with Makers For Humankind, which helped her win a competition this winter. Her initial plan was to give comfort to the less fortunate, but with COVID-19 she realized essential workers can also benefit from her innovation. Makers For Humankind’s shoe kits feature multiple pieces, a weatherproof sock, and interchangeable straps and screws for different looks. Hugley’s venture into footwear and design started with hand-drawn sketches evolving into 3D printed prototypes made at the OpenWorks maker space in Greenmount. Each product is made of plastic filament and comes with varying textures for flexibility, durability, and comfortability.
Hugley is now developing a business plan as part of the inaugural AddVenture Pre-Accelerator Cohort with Innov8 Maryland, a development nonprofit. She dreams of eventually having her shoes recognized at art museums. For the time being, Mikea plans to have the shoes available for purchase online and in catalogs by Spring 2021 and give them away to the homeless through mission-aligned organizations.