These cyberpunk boots will let you walk inside the metaverse without moving from the spot

We might soon be virtually walking on the moon without leaving our homes, thanks to the Metaverse push. With boots that give off a Pacific Rim vibe, you won’t even have to leave the spot you’re standing on and just moonwalk your way to distant worlds.

Virtual reality has been around for decades, but it was only recently that it had made giant strides in making what was once science fiction a reality. While visuals have significantly improved, the illusion of VR is immediately broken when it comes time to interact with the world. A lot of R&D has been poured into making touch input more believable, but that still leaves the problem of moving around the virtual world unresolved. These funky-looking books straight out of a cyberpunk prop set might offer one solution, and you might not look too ridiculous while using them.

Designer: Ekto VR

We almost have the visuals of VR down to a “T,” but there are still a lot of missing elements to make these digital realities almost feel like the real thing. The metaverse is promising to bring us to new worlds, both real and virtual, but our eyes won’t be the only ones that will be making the journey. Hyundai, for example, is envisioning a way to help humans feel a snowstorm on Mars without actually being there, but that still involves people sitting in place, whether in a room or in a moving car.

Moving around virtual worlds feels very artificial when all that we move are our hands or even just our fingers. In some cases, that might be OK since you probably don’t want to walk miles inside a virtual shopping mall or on a tour of the world’s famous landmarks. When exploring unfamiliar places or inspecting industrial sites, however, you might want to actually get a feel for the environment, including the act of walking.

Ekto VR is one of the latest attempts at solving this problem of Location Interface or LI. Some VR systems try to use treadmills to emulate the action of walking, but that feels just as artificial and as awkward as not walking at all. In contrast, the Ekto VR boots ingeniously use motorized wheels to go in the opposite direction and speed as your feet. The effect is that you feel like you’re walking, and your brain feels like you’re walking, but to the people outside, you look like you’re dancing the moonwalk instead.

The boots won’t be winning any awards for design, at least not yet. This hefty and bulky footwear looks more like prototypes than a finished product, and rightly so. They’re still in the early stages of development, so looking nice isn’t really as a priority yet. Then again, you can always mask your apparel in the metaverse, so it might not matter much what things really look like in the real world.

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Sustainable designs created by this upcycling product designer transforms your trash into solutions

Forget recycling. Upcycling could be the next trend that creates new things out of old ones and save more energy at the same time.

We are probably all familiar with the idea of recycling, where certain materials are broken down to be remade into something new, usually related to the original composition, like how paper becomes recycled paper or aluminum comes become ingots. That process, however, doesn’t always work for kinds of things, and many more products end up in landfills when they could still be put to good and often unrelated use. That’s why a young product designer in Hong Kong is trying to kick off a new way of thinking that turns throwaway materials and objects into something useful and perhaps even a bit surprising.

Designer: Kevin, Cheung Wai Chun

Based in Hong Kong, Kevin Cheung describes himself as an “upcycling product designer” and distances himself from the more common concepts of recycling. In fact, he labels recycling as “downcycling” because of how the process breaks down materials rather than using them as-is. While it’s still a big step forward when it comes to sustainability, Cheung tells the South China Morning Post that the entire process still consumes a lot of water and energy in the long run.

In contrast, upcycling actually uses a material’s properties and incorporates that into a new product. Leftover felt carpets from the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, for example, are turned into a protective pouch for laptops or even comfy slippers. Coffee bean bags made from heavy-duty jute fabric can be turned into tote bags that tell the whole world your love for the drink.

You might be expecting that Cheung regularly scours waste stations and garbage dumps for materials to use, but that would actually defeat the purpose. Reusing rubbish from those sources would actually take more time and use up water, which is what upcycling is trying to avoid. Instead, the designer goes directly to the sources of these throwable objects, like companies and stores that don’t give a second thought to what they toss out. Cheung’s inaugural upcycling product, the Boombottle, uses plastic bottles from medical clinics.

More than just the environmental benefits, however, Kevin Cheung’s upcycling push also carries with it some human elements. Wallpapers that spark memories or come from other countries can turn into wallets that accompany you wherever you go. Jeans become smartphone cases that not only give a warmer and more tactile feel to an otherwise cold object but also fade in unique ways over time. Each object becomes more than just a product for use but a book that tells the story of the humans that have encountered it.

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This parametric 3D printed sneaker is made entirely out of one single flexible material

Like Crocs, but infinitely cooler…

The Parametriks Print 001 sneaker makes clever use of design and material sciences to create a sneaker that’s comfortable, stylish, and easy to manufacture. Sort of like how crocks just use one material that’s injection-molded into the shape of a shoe, the Print 001 relies on 3D printing to fabricate its design… which was arrived at by using parametric algorithms.

Parametric Design involves the use of computational parameters that help guide the design process. In a lot of ways, it’s a collaborative design effort between human and computer, as the human sets the parameters and the computer comes up with a form that most efficiently fulfills those parameters. In the case of this shoe, Nathan Smith (also known by his Instagram moniker Parametriks) used a custom algorithm on Grasshopper to create a form that enveloped a foot perfectly while utilizing less material yet offering the same amount of flexibility.

The shoe/sneaker uses a rather intriguing triangular mesh matrix that warps right around the wearer’s foot, fitting it perfectly thanks to the shoe’s bespoke design. Made from TPU, the shoe is about as flexible as a pair of Crocs, while looking infinitely cooler and offering a level of breathability and flexibility that’s unmatched. Sure, the holes on the shoe’s sole open you up to pebbles, thorns, and water, but then again, this piece of footwear is purely experimental as it hopes to explore what a parametric piece of footwear can look like. I’d say I’m pretty happy with the visual results!

Together, 3D printing and parametric design could essentially revolutionize the footwear industry. 3D printing is increasingly being used by companies like Adidas to design forms that can’t be made through traditional manufacturing methods. Parametric design, on the other hand, involves using the wearer’s foot shape and size as a parametric input, so the computer knows what to wrap its material around. This allows footwear to be incredibly personal and unique to the wearer, making them just as, if not more comfortable than regular mass-manufactured shoes.

You can check out more of Nathan’s work on his Instagram.

Designer: Nathan Smith

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Nike launched a bejeweled pair of Women’s Air Force 1 sneakers studded with 228 Swarovski crystals

You might love them or hate them, but sure as hell won’t be able to ignore them.

Designed for a subset of people who feel like regular sneakers aren’t enough for their feet, Nike unveiled the Women’s Air Force 1 sneakers with custom retroreflective Swarovski crystals studded across the surface of the shoes. The functionality is twofold – aside from being a pair of sneakers so bizarrely unique that people will definitely ask you where you got them, the reflective crystals on the shoes actually make them easy to spot in low-light conditions. The retroreflective nature of the crystals allows them to reflect beams of light back to their source, making them visible to people driving vehicles while you’re jogging at dawn.

The leather sneaker comes layered with a 4-part shroud that houses as many as 228 individual retroreflective crystals. Contrary to popular belief, the bling isn’t just there to make a luxury fashion statement. Nike claims the choice of studding the sneakers with over 200 crystals was created out of inspiration taken from road reflectors. To that very end, the shoes are, quite literally, eye-catching. They come in all-white or all-black (the black ones are showcased here), and the studded crystals come to life the minute a light source shines on them.

The shoes are up for sale on the Nike website, although for a hefty sum of $450 a pair. I honestly doubted whether there would even be enough demand for these odd-looking sneakers (coupled with that price point), but as of writing this piece, most of their sizes are sold out as Nike is desperately trying to restock units on their website. If you do like the shoes but are somehow aversed to the idea of constantly having to walk around with crystals around your feet, the shoes ship with a special screwdriver that lets you take the shrouds off too, turning them into a classic pair of Air Force 1s.

Designer: Nike

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These sustainable sneakers are made from fruit waste!

Sneaker culture is technically a part of fast fashion which contributes largely to the mounting waste problem. But if you can find a cool pair that is sustainably designed right down to its packaging, like the Hana sneakers then we’re all here for it! Designed by Italian sneaker brand ID.EIGHT, not only is this paid unisex and cruelty-free but it is made from materials that are by-products of the food industry and are counted as waste – apple skin and hearts, grape skin, seeds, and pineapple leaves!

Since the textile industry is the second most polluting in the world and intensive farming is a plague for the planet, the brand chose to produce the sneakers in Italy using only ecological and cruelty-free materials. Inspired by the 90s with references to the navy look, the sustainable shoes express the ironic and dynamic style of ID.EIGHT. The contrast between the upper in white recycled polyester and the AppleSkin details in shades of red and blue create a mix of contemporary and light colors.

They use four materials derived from apples, grapes, seeds, and pineapples. Piñatex , made with the waste leaves of pineapple grown in the Philippines; Vegea , obtained from the bio-polymerization of marc in Italy; AppleSkin , obtained from the bio-polymerization of apple peels and cores always in Italy. It features lycra and recycled mesh for inserts on the upper, sole, laces, and the label is also made of recycled materials.

The pineapple industry produces around 40,000 tons of leaves every year and is considered a waste material they are usually left to rot or burn. Today it is possible to recover them to create a biodegradable and cruelty-free material. With 480 leaves (16 pineapple plants) it is possible to obtain 1 square meter of material.

Over 7 million tons of marc are discarded every year by the wine sector, an unacceptable waste

Stalks, skins, and grape seeds are part of the “marc”, the residue of the grape juice extraction process. Today it is a strong, sustainable and flexible material. 310 million new plastics are produced and placed on the market every year, and only 9% of this is recycled which is why they chose to use recycled plastic for some components of the sneakers, such as the laces, the label, and the ribbon. The sole is also made up of 30% recycled rubber!

“In recent years, the amount of agri-food waste used to make sustainable products has gone from 0 to over 30 tons per month. A great resource is used to produce, for example, the ‘paper’ used for handkerchiefs and kitchen rolls, and the material we use for our sneakers,” adds the team. Even the packaging is sustainable, it is made with recycled cardboard and the shipping bags are made from at least 80% recycled polyethylene and are 100% recyclable. You will also find a ball of earth and seeds covered with clay – plant in a pot or throw in a gray area of ​​your city to spread some flower power!

Designer: ID.EIGHT

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This modular basketball shoe 3D printed in parts for comfort, cushion and traction has a green heart

Basketball shoes need a perfect blend of breathability, cushion, support and traction. Owing to the performance load, they tend to wear out quickly only to end up in landfills. As an ingenious alternative with the same prowess, an industrial designer with a love for basketball and shoes has conceived a 3D printed modular sneaker system that is built to match the standards of a Dunk High yet thrives on its concept of reparability.

The idea of sustainability is penetrating the footwear industry in a major way to say. While startups and indigenous manufacturers have made the first long stride, it’s the market leaders like Nike and adidas that are now catching up with their performance footwear donning a green conscience. Basketball shoes have not yet been touched by this wind of change; evidently, that’s really not how it will be in the years to come and already a unique concept proves that obvious.

This sustainable basketball sneaker is conceptualized by Dennis Johann Mueller. It has been through a lot of back and forthright from the drawing table to the prototype but the final outcome in images is by and large a concept that deserves to see the light of day with subtle commercial tweaks of course.

The silhouette for me is primarily a rage for its reparability quotient, much like the good conscience Fairphone. The shoe is designed in detachable parts; for instance, the upper, shankplate, midsole and outsole are all separately created to finally form a cohesive unit that can be worn to the hardwood court. This design basically offers users the freedom to adjust different shoe parts to their varying comfort and playing needs, and when they begin to wear out, only have the affected part recreated and replaced so the shoe can be worn as new.

In order to match the requirements of a great basketball shoe, this modular sneaker features a lightweight and perforated upper for good breathability. For comfort, the tongue and ankle areas have inflatable padding, which can be adjusted to need. The removable midsole, forefoot and heel regions come with detailed cushioning, while the translucent outsole wraps around the entire sneaker to act as its skin.

The full package is held together by a cord locking system that fastens the upper, midsole and outsole together without glue. This keeps each part of the shoe practical for recycling at the end of life. So, imagine a scenario where you can replace the shoe parts for the best fit and your style of play on the fly. When some section of the shoe wears out, you can have a new one tailored to perfection and assembled with the existing parts to use again while the waste goes into recycling. This is exactly what the future of the footwear industry we’d want to be realized, and Dennis’ effort is a commendable step in that direction!

Designer: Dennis Johann Mueller


The HyperBounce sneakers use a series of balloons on the outsole to give you a spring in your step

Quite similar to what Nike did with the Joyride sneakers, which used a beanbag-inspired outsole filled with tiny squishy beans, the HYPERBOUNCE concept by Alexander Ordonez explores using the inherent ‘bounciness’ of spheres by adding a series of balloons to the outsole. Not only do the balloons help activate your foot’s pressure points, but they also add an extra spring in your step as you walk, giving credence to the name, HYPERBOUNCE.

Ordonez, a New Jersey-based footwear designer, created the HYPERBOUNCE as an experiment to push the boundaries of performance footwear by integrating new technology with vivid design aesthetics and product stories. “I strive to create futuristic aesthetics while keeping each design rooted in feasible functionality”, mentioned Ortonez.

The shoes come with what I like to call a Black Panther aesthetic, sporting a dark gray exterior with purple accents that glow on the inside, much like the Vibranium nanites in the Black Panther suit that glow when they absorb kinetic energy. Although the HYPERBOUNCE sneakers are purely conceptual at this point, it would be extremely cool to see the purple accents and balloons on the outsole glow as you run or walk in them!

Designer: Alexander Ordonez

Your next climbing shoe could be completely 3D-printed according to this Dyson Award-winning footwear company

Now I’m not much of a climber (I just about take the stairs), so I’ll defer to the experts at Athos who highlight how problematic current climbing shoes are. Designed specifically for being able to grip onto rocks, ledges, and the tiniest of cracks in a very vertical surface, climbing shoes are made for traction, not comfort, which is why a lot of climbers end up with foot aches and injuries after wearing climbing shoes for too long. When climbers buy shoes, they always look for the tightest fit (for better performance), often wearing shoes that are up to 2 or even sometimes 4 sizes smaller than their actual size, resulting in bruised or sometimes even disfigured feet in the long run… Athos’ solution to this? 3D printing shoes that are designed to perfectly fit your feet.

Started as a project at Spain’s ELISAVA institute, the designers were searching for innovative applications of additive manufacturing. Being avid climbers, their eureka moment came when they realized that additive manufacturing (or AM for short) could easily help create the perfect climbing shoe. By using AM technology, the designers were able to custom-build out each shoe considering inputs like the wearer’s foot shape, needs, and type of performance.

The Athos shoes are made from two broad materials – a flexible, foot-hugging body made from 3D-printed TPU, and a two-part outsole crafted from vulcanized rubber. The TPU acts almost as a second skin, flexing with your foot’s movements while staying breathable (thanks to a unique perforated design), while the vulcanized rubber gives the shoes their signature traction and grip, allowing you to easily hold onto small ledges and rocks while you climb. Each shoe is custom-made to fit the wearer, making them unique. The additive manufacturing technique also helps dramatically reduce the number of processes and materials by more than 50%.

The Athos workflow has 4 steps: 1. Feetscan of the user, done within the Athos app. 2. Personalization and customization: type of shape, style of climbing, color, name, etc. 3. Printing out the shoe’s body, post-processing, and assembling parts. 4. Delivery to the user.

The shoes are on track to be prototyped and tested out by 10 professional climbers in January 2022. If everything goes according to plan, Athos hopes to secure SEED funding by March and start building climbing shoes for regular consumers across Spain by the end of next year.

A National Winner of the James Dyson Award, Athos now progresses to the international round of the award program, with the results being announced on October 13th.

Designers: Team Athos

A Honda-incubated startup designed this genius in-shoe GPS navigation system that can guide the visually impaired

Designed to integrate right into the wearer’s shoe, the Ashirase uses a series of haptic ‘tickles’ to help guide the visually impaired as they walk, providing a much more intuitive and effective alternative to using a smartphone.

The Ashirase has a rather heartbreaking backstory. Honda EV-engineer Wataru Chino began working on the concept following the death of a slightly visually impaired relative under circumstances he deemed avoidable. Determined to come up with a much more effective solution to help the blind navigate roads freely and safely, Chino saw no alternative but to craft together a design solution. Honda even helped incubate the design and build the startup through its new-business incubation initiative, IGNITION.

Armed with one less sense, visually impaired pedestrians find it incredibly difficult to navigate to unknown destinations. With their limited senses occupied in concentrating on directions, they can often forget to pay attention to their surroundings or the roads, putting them in danger. The inverse is problematic too, because when they pay more attention to their immediate surroundings, they could in the process forget to follow the directions correctly and get lost. Chino’s solution helps the impaired concentrate on the road while also being able to intuitively receive directions in a less-distracting way. The wearable sits sandwiched between the foot and the wearer’s sneaker. This frees up the user’s hand to hold onto their walking cane (as opposed to their smartphone), and allows them to use their ears to sense their surroundings (instead of listening to audio directions).

The name Ashirase comes from the Japanese word ‘oshirase’, for notice/notification, as the in-shoe wearable helps notify the wearer while they walk, effectively guiding them through a series of vibrations. The in-shoe wearable comes in two parts – a silicone band that wraps around the foot, and an electronic ‘compass’ that provides the haptic feedback. Wearables on each foot help guide the user in any direction, guiding the wearer to their end-destination that’s fed into Ashirase’s smartphone app (which also decides the most optimal path for the wearer to take). The app currently runs on the Google Maps API, which provides a few limitations like needing the internet to work, and not being able to provide effective navigation indoors, although the company is already working on overcoming those drawbacks.

Chino’s startup plans on releasing a beta version of the Ashirase system in Japan in October or November of this year, where users will be provided with free versions of the wearable and the app for testing purposes. Following the public beta, Ashirase is gunning for a commercial-ready product by October 2022, with a subscription-based payment system that should cost somewhere between $18 to $27 (or 2000-3000 Yen).

Designer: Ashirase LLC (Wataru Chino)

It’s time to say goodbye to leather… this company’s making award-winning boots using recycled coffee

The discovery of coffee goes back to the 15th century when a goat-herder named Kaldi first noticed how his goats were staying awake at night after munching on these certain wild berries. Fast forward to 600 years later and coffee isn’t just a global beverage, it’s also poised to become the next footwear material. Yep, you heard me correctly. Award-winning footwear company CCILU has figured out how to turn coffee grounds into a waterproof, durable, sustainable, lightweight, and vegan alternative to materials like leather… moreover, with over a quarter-million tonnes of waste coffee grounds being generated each year, our coffee habit’s beginning to have a pretty noticeable impact on our environment.

Designer: CCILU

Click Here to Buy Now: $99 $116 (24% off). Hurry, less than 72 hours left!

Proven to keep your socks dry through 100,000-step.

The boots weigh only 230 grams – 1/3 of the weight of a pair of traditional boots.

The XpreSole® Panto comes with a slick contemporary design and a pretty impressive list of features. The rain boots are waterproof, dirt-proof, breathable, lightweight, machine-washable, have high traction, and are sustainably made by recycling coffee grounds from as much as 15 cups of coffee per pair of boots. If that wasn’t enough, the XpreSole Panto also went on to win the Red Dot Best of Best, the iF Design Award, and the A’ Design award this year. Is coffee all set to replace leather or PU leather as a footwear material? The folks at CCILU believe that the XpreSole Panto makes a pretty compelling case.

Removable and breathable insoles keep feet dry and fresh.

What’s rather remarkable about the XpreSole Panto is that it successfully manages to use coffee in almost every part of the shoe, barring probably just the laces. On the inside, an insole made from coffee yarn and flexible Ortholite foam gives you the comfort you need, while still remaining rather breathable so you don’t work up a sweat after wearing shoes all day. As your foot rests on the insole, it’s also surrounded by the XpreSole Panto’s inner lining, which is made from an anti-odor, anti-microbial, moisture-wicking coffee-infused fabric, woven together with Lycra and Neoprene for that 4-way stretch.

The boots are soft, flexible and offer durable performance.

The outer body of the XpreSole Panto uses a 30:70 blend of recycled coffee grounds and Eco EVA, along with the outsole or the base of the shoe that additionally uses rubber pads for enhanced friction. Finally, the XpreSole Panto’s laces build on the footwear’s sustainable ethos by using 100% recycled PET bottles.

Rubber outsoles offer strong traction against smooth surfaces. The drainage channels on the outsole allow water to flow away.

At the end of the day, the XpreSole Panto doesn’t just show that shoes can be made using recycled coffee as an additive, it also aims at being a shoe that’s measurably better, more comfortable, and easy to maintain. The ankle-boot design makes the XpreSole Panto perfect for wearing anywhere, even in the rain. The rubber outsole provides higher traction than conventional outdoor shoes on slippery surfaces, while the waterproof and dirt-proof shell makes the XpreSole Panto a perfect, waterproof alternative to leather ankle-boots.

Machine-wash tested 100 times without any damage.

The waterproof shell keeps your feet dry, and if the shoes ever get dirty, they can be cleaned in seconds by hosing them down. On the inside, moisture-wicking and breathable materials allow the shoes to dry off pretty fast… and here’s the clincher, you can just go ahead and chuck the XpreSole Panto boots into your washing machine every month and they’ll be as good as new.

15 cups of recycled coffee grounds = 1 pair of XpreSole® Panto boots.

CCILU’s choice of coffee is fueled by two reasons – for starters, leather isn’t really great at handling the rain, and it isn’t vegan either. Moreover, faux or synthetic leather is almost always made from plastic, adding to the plastic waste problem we’re currently facing as a species. Secondly, coffee waste is slowly becoming a burgeoning problem too, with roughly 1,000 tonnes of it being generated EACH DAY. Determined to hit two birds with one stone, CCILU decided to focus on creating meaningful, durable, and vegan footwear out of coffee. The coffee grounds are collected and dehumidified, before being turned into pellets using proprietary patented technology. Some of those are converted into thin yarns that are woven to create fabrics, while the remaining pellets are added as additives in a unique (and trade-secret) injection molding process to create the outsole and shell.



The multiple award-winning shoes come in a variety of earthy colors, and in low-top and high-top styles. Not only are the shoes vegan and sustainable, but at 230 grams they’re also 1/3rd the weight of the average pair of boots (they even float on water) and durable too. The shoes start at a super early-bird price of $89, and for an extra couple of bucks, you can get yourself a pair of socks made from coffee yarn too!

Click Here to Buy Now: $99 $116 (24% off). Hurry, less than 72 hours left!