When college student Haley Pavone removed her shoes so she could dance more comfortably, she didn’t realize she was opening herself up to catastrophe. A fellow dancer in a pair of stilettos accidentally stepped on her foot.
Out of her pain, Pavone saw an opportunity — creating a shoe that in seconds could easily convert from a high heel to a flat perfect for dancing. Today, Pavone is debuting her direct-to-consumer brand, Pashion Footwear, a collection of convertible heel styles.
The patent-pending design features an outsole made of thermoplastic and nylon that allows flexibility between heel and flat silhouettes with only the assistance of the wearer’s body weight. The shoe’s conversion comes from its removable heel and arch support, the Pashion Stelo. The technology allows the shoe to completely flatten out. Customers can simply turn the heel and detach the Stelo from the shoe, then click on a flat heel cap. No matter how long the shoe is worn as a flat, the wearer just has to life her foot off the ground and the sole will quickly ease back into the optimal form for re-integrating the Stelo in the sole.
Pavone, now 23, a graduate of California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Calif., first presented the idea in its annual Elevator Pitch competition, where she and team member Tyler Unbehand, a fellow student specializing in industry technology who assisted in developing the technology, won both first and second place. To date, Pavone has raised over $1.7 million from investors and has a staff of 13.
Currently, there are two styles available, a pump and adjustable ankle strap design, both featuring 4-inch heels that turn into flats. The collection retails for $165. According to Pavone, additional heel heights and shapes will be introduced. A drawstring bag is included with each purchase for storage of removable parts.
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