Being human is hard. We’re squishy, lumbering, and sensitive. We don’t have claws or wings, and instead of arriving on this planet with houses on our backs like hermit crabs, we have to build them.
Australian architecture collective Sibling has designed a solution for this last problem. When Aussie clothing manufacturer Gorman asked 21 companies and artists to optimize a white canvas high-top sneaker for a line of “Choose Your Own Adventure Shoes,” Sibling, a collaboration among eight architect friends, made theirs with a built-in nylon and polyester shelter. The Walking-Shelter is perfect for a vision quest, walkabout, or epic bar crawl that demands collapsing of exhaustion at the end.
“These are some pretty fly shoes,” architect and Sibling co-founder Jane Caught explains. “Maybe you find yourself outside in the hot sun; you can fashion a shading device. Perhaps you are lost in the shopping mall and need a private moment.” While Caught did not expand on what that private moment might be, it’s easy to imagine the Walking-Shelter serving as your own “don’t touch me” bubble at a club, or even a communal space if friends decide to zip their shoes together. So far, designers have been able to fit three people into Sibling’s “mobile habitat.”
Caught says that the shoe is designed in such a way that the fabric won’t weigh you down as you’re running, dancing, or stumbling. “The shelter is rolled up and folded into the white netting pockets around the lower ankle of each sneaker, like a frill neck lizard,” Caught says. “When unfolded, the two halves of the shelter zip together.”
One of the most direct applications of the shoes, however, will come from their sale. From auctioning off the “Choose Your Own Adventure” shoes online and selling the custom sneakers in its Melbourne store, Gorman is raising money for Little Seeds Big Trees, a kids’ art therapy school. Check out the rest of the designs here.