I fancy seeing a UFO, a spaceship. Suddenly it will burst out of the clouds, a huge, round dish full of impressive lights. And all humanity will stand and cast its gaze upwards, and for one moment we will be united, with no differences, the differences which frequently define us – gender, and colour, origin, and ethnicity, power, and cognitive ability, not to mention the many objects which define us over and over again, and serve us to diagnose and characterize. Nothing. Zilch, all these attributes will disappear. We all will be as on; get ready, the aliens are coming!!
Maybe they’ll be nice, the aliens; we’ll all be friends, the many people of planet earth and our new exciting guests.
This reminds me of a lecture I attended when I was studying in Holland, in SLEM, the incredible and unique school where I studied in 2013. A few days after the studies had started, there was a festive welcoming evening which included cocktails of a festive colour that matched the walls and… a guest lecture.
The honorable guest lecture spoke to us about why human beings wear shoes. He made a long, long presentation full of beautiful slides in which he appeared in many different places around the world, travelling and investigating ancient cultures. In all the pictures he is standing with a broad smile full of light and happiness from the extensive search.
“And why,” he asked again and again, “do humans wear shoes? I’ve wandered all over the world, travelled for ages and ages, but haven’t yet got to the bottom of the matter.”
Animals go about barefoot, and the transition from “the barefoot human” to “the shoe-shod human” is, in the light of the archeological information we possess is not clear.
This means there is no evolutionary development, gradualness, but rather an immediate, sudden sharp leap. Suddenly human are wearing shoes, this is called a quantum leap, when information, understanding and actions appear without any preparation. Transcending over world view, over an array of actions, habits and values to a new knowledge. And how did such an event occur, an action that is not characteristic of a proper historical evolution, something which maybe never happened = a quantum leap for humanity??
And finally he revealed to us, he exposed the secret at that same exciting, introductory evening
“Thanks to the aliens!” declared the learned lecturer vigorously (he really is well educated and well traveled).
“The aliens appeared”, he continued to explain, “arrived from another, distant planet, riding in their sophisticated spaceships, equipped with a variety of gadgets beyond the ability of humans to comprehend, understand or imagine then and apparently also today = quantum leap have we already mentioned? = and they also wore shoes!” And humans admired them, or studied them, or imitated them or all the other things that humans do every day, a whole network of reactions and emotions. From fear to curiosity, from amazement to “I also want”. And they performed one of the first actions in the learning process = imitation. And afterwards change, and development and enhancement, and slowly, slowly they created shoes suitable for human beings.
And so, thanks to mysterious and apparently lovable aliens, and also thanks to our collective forefathers, we can have fun going to the store to buy colourful, comfortable, fashionable shoes, according to our heart’s desire.
And sometimes I wonder if those same aliens have really left, or maybe they have assimilated among us, and within each and every one of us there is one lonely, special tiny drop; an alien!
Disclosure: I don’t believe in aliens, but I love stories, and new connections, even between a seemingly subjects which are apart from one another..
And that same evening in Holland, we didn’t believe that a guest lecturer came to lecture on shoes, and in the end gave a lecture on aliens.
But now I’m curious to remember the lecturer’s name. And maybe in the future, in some future post I’ll write more about him. After all he is a leading researcher in the field of footwear.
Meanwhile I’m attaching here two photos of astronaut’s shoes; there’s still much more to explore in this field too. Perhaps when the next space ship lands here : )
The Lunar Overshoe
These Lunar Overshoe were worn by Eugene Cernan, commander of the Apollo 17 mission that landed on the moon on December 10, 1972.
The boots were part of Cernan’s extra-vehicular (EV) equipment and were worn over the boots that were integrated into the spacesuit. The boots were made with a silicone sole, woven stainless steel uppers (Chromel-R), and included additional layers of thermal protection and beta felt in the soles as protection against extreme temperatures and sharp rocks on the lunar surface. Materials: Exterior: Beta cloth, Chromel-R, Velcro, silicone rubber/compound, steel. Interior: Beta cloth, Beta felt. Read more about the Lunar Overshoe here .
Nike’s Space Exploration and All-Star Game Packs
During 2012 Nike released its Space Exploration Pack which featured sneakers with galactic images and colours. That year the NBA All-Star game took place in Orlando, not too far from NASA . Read more about this at Nike’s website
Nike foamposite Galaxy shoes
Foamposite was a material which revolutionized sneakers back in 1998. The Galaxy foamposite, released in February 2012, feature dark purple graphics and glow in the dark. Image: by Nike and from HuffingtonPost
Nike Dunk High 2012 NBA All-Star Galaxy Pack, released Feb-23, 2012. Image from Sole Collector
May the force be with you
These shoes were designed in 2014 by Xsens for NASA, their purpose is to collect data from the astronauts while exercising during their travel in space. Astronauts exercise approximately 2.5 hours a day in order to reduce the loss of bone and skeletal muscle strength experienced by astronauts during long duration spaceflight. “Force Shoe” sandal offers comprehensive load measures. Having an accurate track of their movements and the use they make of their muscles and body during the practice will help improve their training in the future.
Personal note: one thing is clear to me; these shoes were designed by engineers, not designers, probably meant to be an advanced, but not final prototype. The Force shoe sandals lack the extra touch that integrates them into an entirety, an item which blends aesthetics with functionality and addresses practical issues as well as semantics and human perception. In other words: footwear designers required asap!
Read more about the FroceShoe at NASA’s website
Nike Zoom Rockie Galaxy
Last but not least; Nike Zoom rockie Galaxy, which features a red label saying “Remove before flight”. I love it. Image from Fight Club
Image from Sole Collector