Nothing pays more testament than Kickstarter to the notion that, for every good idea, there are thousands of … we’ll say offbeat ones. The online project funding site has its fair share of footwear-related endeavors, so FN takes you through the most eccentric of the bunch.
5. Miss Vega: “It’s not a shoe. It’s not a sock. It’s a shock!”
There’s some promise to Miss Vegas “shocks,” for which inventor Elly Huysmans of Orlando, Fla., does an extensive job of marketing to show the product is aesthetically viable. The shoes do bring a few questions to mind, however — for instance, how do you wash the socks? Can you replace socks when they tear? And does having a sock for a shaft really improve comfort so drastically in a way that a well-made tall boot can’t? — not to mention interest may be limited to that subset of fashionistas who opt to wear their heels with socks. Note that backers who pledge at least $215 will receive a pair of the pumps, which normally sell for $540.
Continuing the sock theme, looks like some inventors are competing from the get-go. Both HarshNJJ of San Diego and Zip It Gear of Los Angeles are seeking funding for socks with pockets, featuring slots for holding cash, credit cards, keys and even passports. Investors have a choice between HarshNJJ’s Sock Wallets, which features a sew-on item holder, and Pocket Socks from Zip It Gear, which builds pockets directly into the sock, with a zipper to secure trinkets. Hey, if nothing else, it’s practical.
3. Fa, “the (almost) solid wood shoe”
Eugene Dorj of West Hollywood, Calif., brings the next big thing in dress shoes: wooden penny loafers. No wood laminates glued onto leather here — we’re talking wood all over, like with Dutch clogs. According to the quick description on Kickstarter, the loafers will be “stylish and awesome-looking.” Just in case you were wondering about future expansion for the business, the former finisher’s assistant doesn’t want to stop at dress: he’s looking into making sneakers, too.
2. BarePadz, “the world’s most minimal running footwear”
How do you go more minimal than Vibram FiveFingers, you ask? BarePadz gives toed shoes a run for their money by getting rid of coverage for toes — and, for that matter, heels — altogether. Safety is a big concern for Santa Monica, Calif.-based software entrepreneur Greg Pulier, who likes to run with as little coverage as possible on his feet, but found that running barefoot prevented him from venturing onto rough terrain. This product should protect the balls and soles of feet without providing excessive coverage, he claims. That said, Pulier emphasizes that he does not promote barefoot running, per se.
“This summer I had the misfortune of stepping on a stingray. WOW!!!!” is how the description for this project by Michael Bobzien starts. The secret to repelling stingrays lies in magnets, which the fish are apparently sensitive to, attached to the water shoe. While it seems there are plenty of other things to worry about in the ocean besides just stingrays, anyone with this specific fear may now put their hearts at ease, and they’ll also have a choice in shoe color of pink and black.