Ever saw a stylish shoe that you wished came in your size? Or ever wanted to design your own shoes yourself? If you answered yes to either or both of these questions, then this hot new Indiegogo campaign might sing to your heart. The name “ShiftWear” is a tad deceptive, not standing up to the magic it can do. Unlike personalized sneakers, you don’t have to settle for a single design and live with it once and for all. You can change it on a whim using only your smartphone, thanks to the magic of e-paper.
E-paper or e-ink is a great technology for low-power screens that are also eye-friendly because of how little energy they consume to maintain the image currently on their display. Once limited only to e-book readers, we’ve seen some rather innovative experiments that put e-paper displays or EPDs on more flexible material, like, say, a bracelet. Now David Coelho is presenting what could probably be the most creative application of that idea: putting EPD on shoes.
The idea and allure of ShiftWear is rather simple. Put e-paper displays on both sides of sneakers and let users’ and designers’ creative juices flow. Changing what’s on display is as easy as changing your smartphone’s wallpaper, using a smartphone app to let users select their desired design, either of their own making or from a marketplace. The shoes, which boast of durable Kevlar fiber coated soles and machine washable material, screams wearable technology all around.
For example, the batteries powering the EPD is charged either wirelessly or through every step you take. If you choose a static image, you won’t even have to charge it at all since it won’t be consuming power. But static images can become boring after a while and colorful animated images are definitely more eye catching. Fortunately, ShiftWear supports those too.
If it almost sounds too good to be true, Coelho assures that the technology that together make up ShiftWear has been around already for quite a while. No one just thought of mashing them up into this kind of product. The idea definitely has appeal, enough to generate more than the $25,000 funding goal set by the Indiegogo campaign. For as low as $150, you can get a low-cut version. But if you really buy the vision, you might want to buy the $1,000 tier that gets you the Limited Edition M1 Classic that turns the whole shoe, not just the sides, into a dynamic e-paper display.