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Sony's FES team and New Balance made an e-paper sneaker

But there are no plans to actually sell the collab.
Jamie Rigg, @jmerigg
August 31, 2018
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The FES Watch was an e-paper fashion accessory borne out of Sony's interesting idea incubator, First Flight. It was one of the earliest products to make it onto Sony's domestic crowdfunding platform, and it was successful enough to warrant a second-generation product, the more intricate FES Watch U. It's rare to see the e-paper timepieces outside of Japan, but the FES team are here at Sony's IFA booth with a new concept product: A sneaker with e-ink soles and side detailing created in collaboration with New Balance.

Gallery: FES x New Balance e-paper sneakers | 8 Photos

The black and white soles are a particularly cool aesthetic, and it would've been fun to see them cycle through a number of different graphical designs à la the FES Watch U. But the two alternating patterns have been forged purely to plug both brands involved. That makes sense, because neither company has plans to commercialize the concept -- the collab was just an excuse to create something fun and distinctive to install in Sony's booth for the duration of IFA.

Manufacturing an e-ink sneaker that's functional, comfortable and washable (batteries and water don't mix well) is perhaps a bit too complicated as it stands, anyway. Case in point: ShiftWear has been trying to do just that for years now, even after raising nearing $1 million in a crowdfunding push of its own and selling preorders online. In an update earlier this year, ShiftWear admitted the project is dead in the water until it receives another cash injection.

Still, the FES x NB sneaker is a funky look at a fashion future where we don't just have screens in our pockets and on our wrist. We wear them on our feet, too.

Follow all the latest news from IFA 2018 here!

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