Does the world need smartphone-controlled sneakers whose design you can change as easily as your screensaver, turning your feet into yet another vehicle for a seizure-inducing GIF? Probably not. Nevertheless, startup ShiftWear, which is currently raising funds on Indiegogo, has come up with a concept that promises wearers the ability to art-direct their footwear via a mobile app with an endless stream of HD-quality images and animations.
Powered by the wearer’s movements via a “walk and charge” system, the shoes, which are still in the prototype phase, use HD color-flexible e-paper displays and Bluetooth-enabled software that allows them to communicate with the ShiftWear mobile app, the founders say.
The idea seems novel, but it’s part of a larger trend toward mass-customization in the fashion and design worlds: Consumers are given a smidgen of control over the look of the final product that might appeal to their desire for self-expression but often adds up to nothing more than a gimmicky nod to co-creation.
There’s no guarantee that today’s crowdfunding darling will develop into a viable, seamlessly working product, but the ShiftWear campaign has already raked in nearly $100,000 in preorders.