Ankaboot | Shoe Storage System

Ankaboot is the first piece of furniture I designed and made during my studies, it’s also what led me to research the ‘Design for Behavior Change’ approach. You can read about this here.

I was designing a shoe storage system for muslim prayer rooms (where you have to leave your shoes outside before entering the room) and after my research I came up with one main conclusion: Humans have the tendency to be lazy whenever an opportunity presents itself.

empty shoe cabinet

It wasn’t the functionality of the design or the aesthetics of it that caused this problem, but it was more of a sloth problem.

I examined 57 student apartments in Malaysia, in malaysian culture you also have to leave your shoes outside before entering, and usually a lot of students stay in one single apartment (an average of 12 student), so this allowed me a wider research and it was quite a similar environment. These were my main findings (sorry for the blurry pictures, you can’t take your time while trespassing):

1- Humans are lazy
2- Girls hang their heels
3- Some like to add a support element; a chair or an upside down bucket!

ankaboot shoe storage1

I incorporated these three things in the design; how can I motivate users to actually use the shoe storage, how can I provide different ways to store different shoes, and how can I add a support element that doesn’t take up much space. Here is the final design:

ankaboot shoe storage 3

Ankaboot is an Arabic word meaning spider. It’s a DIY system in which the user –ankaboot- gets to design his own web using elastic bands to trap his/her shoes! It’s made from pine wood panels that can be easily assembled and disassembled by any user. 

The first question I get after telling people that this is a shoe storage system is ‘Does it work?’
Well yes it does! And that’s the exact reaction I was aiming for.

ankaboot shoe storage2

It makes a mundane object fun. Its unconventional design for a shoe storage system makes it visible. And the design can be altered by changing how the elastic bands are attached, creating new designs everytime. And turns out slothfulness is powerful, but curiosity is even more powerful. So my list becomes:

1- Humans are Curious
2- Girls hang their heels
3- Some need a support element

You can check more photos of the product here

Do you think this would actually work? Leave me a comment below.