Global Footwear Award winner Benny Goldberg

December 7, 2022

Benny Goldberg is redefining “peak” performance.

Goldberg (B.F.A., industrial design) has won the Global Footwear Award 2022 in Sports Performance, student division. His winning design, The Street Hiker, featuring colorways inspired by U.S. National Parks, is “designed to be worn by fashion and streetwear enthusiasts as they explore the urban world.”

“I set my alarm and woke up in the middle of the night to check the announcement,” Benny says, with a mixture of pride and disbelief. “To win is so sick.”

The highest global recognition for ground-breaking footwear designs, the Global Footwear Awards acknowledge both professional and emerging designers. Goldberg’s design was selected by an impressive panel of judges, including shoe designers, product managers, and style editors from powerhouses like Puma, Adidas, Hugo Boss, and British GQ.

Benny began designing his boot in The Development of Product Form (IDUS 250) with Professor Rafael Corazza in Spring 2021. As Benny recalls: “The project prompt was a mood board with luxury hiking gear. Some [of my classmates] designed flashlights, water bottles, and backpacks. I focused on footwear because that’s my passion.”

Benny sketched a boot with a rocky midsole, extending his concept to a plastic heel cup “like a mountain on the back.” He transferred early iPad sketches into Rhino and kept working.

“I saw Balenciaga and other companies making hiking-type boots, but people don’t really wear them to go hiking,” Benny says. “My idea was to bring the mountain to the street, so you’re literally walking on a mountain range as you walk down the street.”

Benny rendered the Street Hiker in Keyshot, selecting colorways eye-dropped from photographs of Glacier National, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon. He refined his design and its presentation in Fall 2021, in Portfolio and Resumé Development (IDUS 316) with Professor Paul McGroary.

“From the beginning of portfolio class, Benny had a strong vision of what he wanted to achieve, and he worked tirelessly to make that happen,” McGroary says. “He took chances, made wonderful mistakes, and developed. The result is an edgy set of deliverables that ooze design poise and professionalism.”

“Designing a shoe is really fun because it’s problem solving,” Benny says. “You know what you want it to look like, you’ve done the sketches, but getting the shapes to work, getting the lofts and lines to come together, that’s the challenge.”

Were Benny solely focused on academic projects, his Global Footwear win would be impressive. Yet this artist-athlete is also the starting goaltender for the SCAD men’s lacrosse team, whose season is now in full swing.

Growing up playing lacrosse and ice hockey in and around Birmingham, Michigan, Benny says he always felt like something of an outsider—until his parents sent him to Savannah for SCAD Summer Seminars, the pre-college program for high school students.

“My Summer Seminar experience changed me,” Benny says. “From that moment I owned the fact that I wanted to do art. SCAD has always felt like home to me.”