This project doesn’t make much sense on a practical level, but we’re into it anyway. In partnership with phone company O2, a designer has taken old, discarded phones, combined them with old, discarded shoes, and turned them into functional tools for communication: shoe phones!

walkie-talkie-man
O2

Every shoe phone has a keypad so you can make calls on it. It’s sort of like a secret spy phone, except it’s pretty obvious when you’re using it:

walkie-talkie-woman
O2

These are functional phones, but maybe not functional shoes — they’re meant to be art, so it’s not clear that you could walk around on them. The point, though, isn’t to have to take off your shoes every time you need to make a call. It’s to start a conversation about upcycling, according to the designer:

I hoped that … I would raise a smile and perhaps a laugh and create things that people wanted once again. I’ve been using them while out with friends and they never fail to start a conversation, even when I’m not using them as a phone! I hope that they can get more people talking about the need to recycle old gadgets rather than binning them.

That sounds about right: If we saw someone having a conversation with their shoe to their ear in real life, and they weren’t Maxwell Smart, we would definitely talk about it.