Thesis Couture aims to engineer stilettos for comfort

Comfort is rarely the first word that comes to mind when wearing high heels, but a former Silicon Valley executive is on a mission to transform that notion.

"We're basically trying to create a stiletto that feels and functions like a wedge," Thesis Couture founder and CEO Dolly Singh said Tuesday on "CBS This Morning." "So most women that have stood on [the prototype shoes] will agree that the lateral stability is much better and it feels like you're standing on a wedge and not like a classic stiletto."

The creation of Thesis Couture grew from Singh's personal frustrations while working on the large campus of SpaceX, walking three to four miles a day on hard, industrial floors.

img-cinderella-shoe-thesis-couture.jpg
Rendering of a shoe from Thesis Couture

With her background in recruiting as head of talent acquisition at Oculus VR and SpaceX, she was able to form a dynamic team that included former SpaceX rocket scientist Hans Koenigsmann, astronaut Garrett Reisman, fashion scientist Amanda Parkes, orthopedist Dr. Andy Goldberg and Oculus engineer Matt Thomas.

"I've been able to put together some really talented engineering teams in the past, and so what I decided to do was to use those talents to put together a really diverse group of people to try to attack the problem in a way that hasn't been approached before," Singh said.

They tried to redefine and unpack the stiletto.

"So we talked to our engineers about building [the shoe] like the world's smallest chassis or a tiny little bridge that fits inside of a high heel, not them being focused on the fact that it's a high heel," Singh added.

high-heel-base.jpg
A convetional high heel shoe uses a "very thin metal plate" that provides no structure, Thesis Couture CEO Dolly Singh says
CBS News

When the group examined conventional high heels, they discovered a "very thin metal plate" that provided no structure.

"It doesn't take an engineer or rocket scientist or astronaut to figure out that you can probably do better than this. And so what we're doing is using an advanced polymer, which is sort of a ballistic-grade plastic and that is precision formed," Singh said.

thesis-couture-base.jpg
Thesis Couture created a larger surface area for their shoes using advanced polymer
CBS News

By creating more surface area and matching it to the shape of the foot's bottom surface, they were able to change how the "load" distributes.

"So in most cases when you're on [a high heel], 80 percent of your weight is on your toes. Our structure brings it down to 50 percent," Singh said.

Thesis Couture's shoe heels will be wider than, say, Christian Louboutin stilettos, but it will prevent lateral instability, which can cause ankle injuries for women in heels, Singh said. Regardless, Thesis Couture's goal is to make the shoe as sleek and beautiful as it is functional, and to start, they hired their first guest designer, Nick LaRusso.

"He spent the last seven years as the director of design for women's shoes at Jimmy Choo," Singh said. "So he is also obsessed with sexy shoes. So that's our job, is to really try to walk that line and thread the needle better than anyone else has before."

The first full collection of the heels will be released Spring 2016 and will be priced between $350 to $950, which Singh described as the "classic American luxury bracket." The styles will range from day to evening and red carpet looks.