Could digital footwear be a significant solution to the problem of pollution?
And wearing AR Glasses, or VR Goggles will we still need special/complex physical clothes and shoes if they will be overlayed digitally with outerworldly, cosmic, or even mind blowing psychedelic creations only possible in a digital reality? Maybe simple organic cotton slippers is all we’ll need for our feet and all impressive new designs will be digitally superimposed.
Will 5G help make all this a reality?
Almost 10 years ago, I wrote a post titled 3D Printer Art – The Future of Footwear Sole Design , at that time just a few mathematically minded computer modellers were creating incredible 3D sculptures. Now almost 10 years have passed and it’s incredible to see how 3D design has developed in footwear, beyond just sole design and 3D printing components.
With the recent introduction of Facebook Meta and the Nike trademark of digital Footwear, Apparel and Accessories, it would seam that digital footwear is going beyond 3D printing and is now well on its way to entering the mainstream and digital channels of distribution like music and movies, which could be its truest and best suited application.
The arrival at Nike of new CEO John Donahoe from Ebay and Cloud Computing would indicate at least internal shift towards digitalisation. How quickly it will be accepted and used by the public is the question. Is the transition to a fully digitalised world and lifestyle inevitable?
Assuming that the electricity required to run our virtual worlds does not become too much like it has for Bitcoin mining, it could be that digital products will one day also become the most eco-friendly fashion choice.
Digital footwear has been around for a few years and is currently mostly available and used as AR on phone apps like Wanna Kicks. But VR could be the next logical step, especially since Facebook has been developing it for a very long time.
Although it’s not clear how much poly-count and processing speeds will increase to develop such an immersive digital lifestyle, its probable that they will continue exponentially.
*Please wait a few seconds for the large gif files to load below 😉
One of the first designers to develop new AR footwear designs with Wanna Kicks was my colleague at Sportmaster in Russia Ilyas Darakchiev. At first I didn’t completely understand it beyond its use for online catalogs and design portfolios, until I began researching AR internally as an innovation opportunity for Demix footwear where we were both working at in Moscow.
But digital footwear could go way beyond the traditional corporate world and open brand new markets and opportunities for designers to sell their digital designs online to a massive global market (as long as the software is accessible and affordable).
And since there are already many footwear designers already creating the boldest, outrageous and impossible digital shoes with software like Gravity Sketch with relatively little overhead and investments, its possible that these designs could be better, more popular and downloaded than any which traditional, big brands can introduce….unless of course big brands will have better technology to create newer and more interesting effects, not to mention more marketing, influencers and distribution channels/platforms.
But it does also remind me a bit of those Korean millionaire online English teachers/tutors, who teach online after-school classes to thousands of students at a time, instead of a traditional classroom of 30. Could digital companies and online platforms one day also replace most shoe companies if shoe technology innovation becomes mostly visual digital? And will E-Sports be used to promote shoe design in a similar way physical sport games do today? The question is no longer if, but how will Footwear continue to transition to the digital world? NFT’s anyone?
Earlier this year Gucci in collaboration with Wanna Kicks released the Gucci Virtual 25, selling for between US$9 and US$12 per pair. An incredibly affordable price for a high fashion product, but which has massive distribution potential and a tiny development cost.
The Fermi Paradox named after Italian-American physicist Enrico Fermi, asks “if we assume that highly intelligent beings exist, why have they not visited us (from Wikipedia)?”. If I am not mistaken, on of the reasons proposed by Swedish-born philosopher Nick Bostrom is that “assumptions about the general development or behaviour of intelligent species are flawed and that we see no signs of intelligence elsewhere in the universe because intelligent alien life develops an “increasing disinterest” in their outside world”.
…OK stay with me :)))) This could be the main reason for why Digital Footwear may become the Future of Footwear.
Author Stephen Webb also wrote that “some advanced beings may have divested themselves of physical form, creating massive artificial virtual environments, transferring themselves into these environments through mind uploading, and existing totally within virtual worlds, ignoring the external physical universe”.
And many years ago Julian Assange also mentioned in 2017 at a London Festival (at about minute 21) that mind uploading was already being developed in Silicon Valley, but maybe more out of spite than an impartial informed observer.
“I know from our sources deep inside those Silicon Valley institutions, they genuinely believe that they are going to produce artificial intelligences that are so powerful, relatively soon, that people will have their brains digitized, uploaded on these artificial intelligences, and live forever in a simulation, therefore will have eternal life,”
Stephen Webb continued: “Possibly any sufficiently advanced society will develop highly engaging media and entertainment well before the capacity for advanced space travel, with the rate of appeal of these social contrivances being destined, because of their inherent reduced complexity, to overtake any desire for complex, expensive endeavours such as space exploration and communication”. Which despite the recent space tourism and plans to colonise mars, seems pretty much what has happened in the last 100 years as media technology has exponentially grown.
“Once any sufficiently advanced civilization becomes able to master its environment, and most of its physical needs are met through technology, various “social and entertainment technologies”, including virtual reality, are postulated to become the primary drivers and motivations of that civilization”….what do you all think?
It’s not so hard to imagine that due to continued health scares like Covid, bars and clubs could be replaced by virtual meeting spaces. And thus, maybe gradually, as a consequence of the lockdowns, home office and our digitally directed cellphone app life, with increasingly reduced physical contact, it could be that the future of footwear becomes digital. And who knows maybe even walk us into the Simulation Theory? 😉