College for Creative Studies, USA Luge and White Castle ® Team Up to Design Luge Bootie of the Future

CCS’ “Soleology: Footwear Design” Class Takes on Bootie Design as a Class Project

Gordy Sheer instructing another person how to lay on a lugeGordy Sheer, American luger and Olympic silver medalist, showing a CCS student how a luge works.

Members of the global luge community, including the USA Luge Team, may soon be wearing the racing shoe of the future if a team of Detroit-area students can come up with the right high-performance design.

USA Luge asked the College for Creative Studies (CCS) in Detroit if students in its Soleology Footwear Design course could take on the bootie concepting and redesign as a project in the semester-long course. CCS jumped at the chance to give its students real-world experience.

“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,” said Kate Lees, associate director of communications at CCS. “We really appreciate USA Luge giving our students this wonderful opportunity.”

The design project kicked off last night with a special event at the White Castle ® located across the street from CCS. The 14 students in the design class met with Gordy Sheer, an Olympic silver medalist in luge and now director of marketing and sponsorships for USA Luge. The students also watched point-of-view videos of luge athletes racing down icy tracks, lay on a luge sled, and tried on helmets, booties and other luge gear. The activities were meant 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,” Sheer said. “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 with 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% of all current junior athletes in the USA Luge system and three of six athletes competing in the 2019 Luge World Championships. White Castle wanted to support the shoe design initiative, as well.

“We’re both slider experts, so our partnership makes sense,” said Jamie Richardson, a vice president at White Castle. “But more important, we’re both committed to supporting the growth of our young people. Given our White Castle vision to ‘feed the souls of craver generations everywhere,’ this is an especially good fit. All puns intended!”