Future Now: Virtual Sneakers To Cutting-Edge Kicks
Shoe design is pushing the boundaries of what is possible in both the real and virtual worlds through state-of-the-art technologies, ground-breaking materials, and new and innovative ways of thinking about what a shoe can be.
New modes of making and innovations in materials are inspiring shoe designers to challenge what shoes can look and feel like. This book explores today’s most futuristic footwear designs, from the use of new technologies such as 3-D printing and smart technology to the invention of sustainable materials, including “leather” made from mushrooms and soles made from reclaimed ocean plastics. It also examines footwear design in the virtual world where adherence to things like comfort and gravity are no longer part of the equation. The importance of sneakers in games such as Grand Theft Auto and Fortnite are explored as is the new enthusiasm for collectable non-fungible token (NFT) sneakers that are being acquired for tens of thousands of dollars for a single pair.
In-depth interviews with of-the-moment designers, including Iris van Herpen, the team at RTFKT, Steven Smith, Eric Avar, Alexander Taylor, and more, all conducted by the author, dive deep into the creative process, influences, and the future of shoe design. The introduction offers an overview of great footwear innovations from the past that have kept us a step ahead.
Elizabeth Semmelhack is an acclaimed shoe historian and director and senior curator of the Bata Shoe Museum.