The Ki ecobe is one of those eye-opening products that you experience once in a few years. Designed with an aim to be socially responsible and sustainable in mind, the Ki ecobe footwear becomes one of the most impressively designed products with an even more impressive list of problems solved through great design application.
The footwear design comes as separate modules that can not just be interchanged for style, but even worn separately for functionality. Rugged when you want it, bare-basic when you need it, and comfortable when you demand it, the Ki ecobe manages to pull off something no one in the shoe industry has dreamed of achieving… Complete, well-articulated modularity that has a strong purpose. Born from a need to make a show that challenges the unsafe sweatshop practices of having people and children work with toxic chemicals, the Ki ecobe doesn’t use a single drop of glue. Rather than presenting itself as a challenge, the absence of glue actually makes the Ki ecobe a vastly better shoe than most.
The Ki ecobe comes as three different styles of footwear. The in-boot is like a good-looking and comfortable pair of foam/fabric indoor shoes and is designed so it can stay on your feet at all times (they’re also washable). A rugged outsole, strap, and laces can be added to the in-boots, turning indoor slipper into outdoor sneaker. Your feet remain guarded always, and the outsole protects the in-boots from getting damaged. You can directly wear the outsole and strap without the in-boots too, like a pair of laced sandals. The outsole comes with a rather unique tread that acts as a Lego brick stud as the strap fits comfortably into it, giving you shoe that’s incredible to look at even from the bottom. Each component comes in a wide array of colors and patterns, giving you the ability to make up to 10,000 different styles… or even 14 different styles if you were to buy two separate Ki ecobes and mix and match between In-boots, Outsoles, Straps, and Laces. You can custom select the color/pattern for each and every component of your Ki ecobe shoe on purchase, along with your size, pretty much allowing you to design/build your own shoe to your personal taste.
Each Ki ecobe takes not more than 5 minutes to be built, unlike shoes/sneakers that require manual labor and an average of 30 minutes per piece of footwear. Since parts are made separately, they can be swapped when they begin experiencing wear and tear, meaning you discard modules and not the shoe itself. The shoes come molded and stitched/knitted; and all the assembly is done through the laces and the press-fit between the outsole and the strap. Not a single drop of glue is used anywhere in the manufacturing process, therefore making workspace conditions much safer for the laborers involved, while also resulting in a shoe that won’t fail you because of build-quality issues.
It’s unsurprising that the Ki ecobe has bagged almost all conceivable design awards for being a shoe that impressively tackles three giants of shoe design, i.e., modularity, unsafe working conditions, and the set-in-its-ways footwear industry. Among many, the footwear design is a recipient of the Red Dot Design Award, the iF Design Award, the Green Good Design Award, and was a finalist at the IDEA Awards. Click below to support the Ki ecobe and be a part of history as it changes the footwear industry for the better… and let’s hope the big shoe companies can “follow this one’s footsteps”!
Designer: G.D Kim