MSc Product Design Engineering School of Design

Stuart Donnan (He/Him)

I am a product designer with a background in mechanical engineering. A passion for walking and eco-friendly design is what influenced my multiple circular economy-based projects. I think that every designer should strive towards designing products that are permanently useful and useable with no end of life or designing products that after their useful life has finished leave behind no trace of their existence.




The Nu-Shu is a product based around the growing problem of waste created at the end of life within the footwear industry. In order to make an impact on this the Nu-Shu system has been designed as a pair of reusable, recyclable and remanufacturable hiking boots.

This has been achieved through the design of a modular system that would allow for the easy
replacement of any part of the boot that fails by the consumer at home with either parts ordered from the manufacturer or manufactured locally through parts drawings sent out with each pair of shoes. This customizability and decentralised production allow for the lifespan of the boot to be almost indefinite

The standard Nu-Shu is created from a number of sustainable materials. The main outer leather components use reverse grain leather in order to reduce the amount of waste leather created, with distinct panels being utilised in order to tesselate them together to further minimise waste.

The inner of the boot would be manufactured from sustainably sourced cotton processed and waxed to produce a breathable and water-resistant canvas for use in all weather. The straps of the boot would be integrated into the inner in order to help secure the inner to the leather outer but also allow for easy dismantling and replacement.

The boots’ sole would be built using a vulcanised rubber combined with a bio-accelerant in order to reduce the predicted time for it to fully degrade from 1000 years down to a more reasonable 10.

This combination of design and material choice is what would allow for a major change within the footwear industry and hopefully could allow for a marked turning point in shoe design.