Mockery Mia: up, up and away! // World Wide Things Collection

With their high heel sneaker Mockery Mia, Michaela Worschitz and Jürgen Holl have created a shoe that combines the best of two worlds: the comfort of trainers and the elegant feel of high heels.

Michaela Worschitz speaks to us about the journey from idea to finished product and how you create uniqueness.

Interview: Nina Prehofer

Why are two architects working on shoes?

Michaela Worschitz: From dealing with architecture, we recognise that buildings and shoes meet the same requirements, what’s different is just the way of achieving that. Both objects need to provide comfort, fulfil statistical requirements, be functional protect against the rain and the cold and conform to subjective aesthetics.

How did the idea come about to turn a sneaker, of all things, into a high heel?

The idea came up during my architectural studies at the Graz University of Technology. I also wrote my thesis about it. Using the same software that I’d learnt how to design buildings on, I designed the first High Heel Sneaker. It was actually for entirely personal reasons: I’m rather short, and really wanted to be taller in everyday life without having to endure the usual associated foot pain and without losing any practicality in day-to-day life. The advantage I was aiming for, as well as height, was to deliberately take a different path with high-heel shoes.

They just make you feel different.

And that’s why sneakers with a heel are better than normal sneakers or high heels?

I’m active and I enjoy being out and about on my feet a lot, so I need a shoe that can carry me comfortably through the day. But one that will go well with an elegant outfit. So, sneakers with a heel. Only ever wearing trainers was sometimes a bit too boring, and what’s more, in my opinion you shouldn’t wear sneakers to a wedding or other special occasions.

What else can the High Heel Sneakers do?

“When people start staring at your shoes and stop looking at your ass” is one of our slogans. The High Heel Sneakers don’t just stand out because of their striking design, but also because of the totally new walking experience and how they enable the wearer to walk for hours at a time without any pain.

Mockery Mia

What materials are they made out of ?

The outer is made from moulded neoprene, while the inner is naturally tanned leather. The wedge heel is made out of recycled thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), a plastic that’s also used for highend sneakers. The materials come from Italy so as to ensure the shortest possible transport routes to the production site. The issue of sustainability is important to us. That’s why we didn’t want the manufacturing to be done in China.

You say that comfort can be achieved through design. What does that mean exactly?

The wedge heel of the shoe was created with the help of parametric design, meaning finding inspiration in the surroundings and drawing on shapes that are already successfully in use in nature. The heel is made out of a honeycomb structure that ensures the optimum transfer of force and thereby provides above-average comfort. The soft materials used also ensure shock absorption.

Mockery Mia

What inspired you to create the design?

The designs are inspired predominantly by chaotic formations in nature, such as those found in the branches of plants, river banks, mountain ridges and coastlines. These recurring geometries have sparked the interest of parametric design. Incidences in nature are random, but unique in their own way.

That’s what generates demand for the designs: creating uniqueness.

You invested a couple of years of research in this project. What did you need to research for your High Heel Sneaker?

With a wedge heel, there is considerably more strain put on the ball and the heel of the foot than with sneakers, as the transfer of force isn’t flat but rather reduced to two main points. To be able to keep your
balance despite the height of the heel and the high number of overlying cavities caused by that, a material is needed that ensures stability and flexibility at the same time so as to prevent the wedge heel from buckling, as well as ensuring cushioning. Roughly the same cushioning is afforded to wearers of any weight so no one is at a disadvantage.

Mockery Mia

What does the brand name mean?

Mockery mia (mia = Italian for “my”) serves as a way to see the world in a self-deprecating way. Why not laugh out loud at yourself every now and then? And at the same time stand up for yourself and your own style. Life is much more fun and exciting if you can look at it in a playful way. The basic idea behind mockery mia internalises the questioning of existing structure to drive the development of new, well-considered solutions. Prevalent issues shouldn’t be taken lightly. However, we welcome prescribed rules and structures because that’s the only way we can have the opportunity to break them.

When are the High Heel Sneakers meant to be worn?

Aesthetics and style are part of my life. I celebrate dressing in an extraordinary way and find it fun. You speak differently, move differently. The great thing about the High Heel Sneakers is that you can wear them for a whole day and night without becoming bad-tempered through pain. When other people would rather sit down, I’m still dancing.

Mockery Mia

About Mockery Mia

Architects Michaela Worschitz and Jürgen Holl developed the High Heel Sneaker. During their architecture studies they dealt with parametric design and looked for an application for this design method in areas of everyday life – and they found it!

Mockery Mia online >>

Photos: Mockery Mia, Florian Ilsinger

Year: 2018
Material: leather, TPU, neoprene
Measurements: 10 x 26 x 29 cm
Category: Accessoires and Fashion
Designer: monkie mia design OG 
Producer: monkie mia design OG
Joined World Wide Things Collection (WWTC): 2021