PH designer’s award-winning “ramen shoes” joins int’l design contest in China

Step aside, designer stilettos — a Filipino-made one-of-a-kind footwear is turning heads on the international stage, and it looks as astounding as it is appetizing

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(Images: Virtual Shoe Museum; Joel Wijangco)

Dubbed “Sister’s Favorite,” the ramen-inspired footwear by designer Joel Wijangco just recently won 2nd place in the 7th Filipino Footwear Design Competition (FFDC). Wijangco bagged the P7,000 prize money and a ticket to the International Footwear Design Competition in Guangzhou, China where he and fellow FFDC winners will represent the country in 2022.

The custom-made footwear features unconventional materials such as resin, rubber, plastics, a fiberglass-coated metal shank, miso cowl, fabricated cable wires, makeshift banana leaves, and actual chopsticks. As if resisting freefall, the shoe’s design put most of the weight in the platform at the ball of the foot and altered the sole’s angle so that the wearer may stay in an upright stance.

True to its name, Wijangco’s design is inspired by his sister’s favorite food, ramen. Beyond a reflection of our culture’s deep passion for food, Wijangco says the piece is also a tribute to his sister, a teacher who’s currently working in Japan and whom he describes as “a brave and strong woman.” 

According to the footwear’s media kit, Wijangco developed the design upon hearing the news that his sister has again fallen ill to cancer. Thus, “Sister’s Favorite” seeks to embody all the moments he and his sister shared over a bowl of ramen.

If it looks ridiculous to the common audience, then that means Wijangco has met his goal. As a self-confessed storyteller, he meant for the footwear to look flamboyant as a response to these trying times our country is in. 

“So it’s a campy and humorous piece, and I think it’s something we need right now in this time of anger and fear and bad news,” Wijangco said in a quote to The Philippine Star.

“This is a flight of fancy that shows us that the impossible, can be possible.”

Here’s hoping the ramen-themed footwear wins its next competition!

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