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Our design studio is located aside our manufacturing facility in Buford, GA, just outside Metro-Atlanta. We’ve assembled a diverse team of designers from varied backgrounds, including sculpture, industrial design, and architecture. The process begins by understanding the two guiding features in product design and development: practicality and comfort. 

From there, our designers look to everyday experiences to define the context of how Okabashi’s collection of products fits into our customers’ lives. Our team generates countless story boards that begin to create situations in which our shoes fit.

While this process is happening in the actual studio, a team of consumer advocates puts together the framework for design and trend forecasting. This research refines the shoe designs through the eyes of true Okabashi customers.

From sketching, our designers move into model making through both traditional methods (clay) and new methods (computer rendering). The principles of ergonomics and reflexology guide this process. Models are sent off for fabrication to create sample molds of our manufacturing team. The molds are then tested to ensure delivery of the highest quality.

When these processes have been perfected, the design stage is complete!

Tell our designers what you think! Send a note to our Chief Designer at chiefofdesign@okabashi.com

A peek into the life of our Chief Designer

Naomi Wakatake was born and raised in Tokyo before moving to Hawaii where she studied Fine Arts at the University of Hawaii. It was through her experience studying art that she returned to making art after a short hiatus between high school and college. Naomi then moved to Atlanta where she continued making art and graduated from the Atlanta College of Art with a BFA in both three-dimensional sculpture and interior design. Her degree in design led to a chance meeting with the CEO of the emerging wellness footwear brand Okabashi. In 1999 she took over the directorship of design for Okabashi Brands Inc. Through Wakatake’s 11 years of perfecting the craft of molding and designing a wellness and recyclable shoe, she has taken a brand from what was once only considered an orthopedic and disposable line to a fashionable and eco-chic line of recyclable shoes. Her unique take on design, which is inspired by everything from automobiles to nature, portrays traces of a Japanese aesthetic that produces innovative, clean, and structural designs for the world of everyday comfort. Naomi appreciates great looking shoes and values comfortable ones; she comes to work in her heels, but always leaves in her Okabashis.  

Today's designers create shoes with a keen sense of new trends in fashion, but with little or no knowledge about the health and well being of the human foot. Here at Okabashi, we create shoes that are specifically designed to function as therapeutic footwear, proving health benefits simply by wearing them. Our engineers start with a basic understanding of the anatomical structure of the foot and incorporate the principles of kinesiology and reflexology to create a shoe that makes your feet feel as good as they look. Our European designers create styles and colors that appeal to your sense of fashion.