So there have been some crazy things people have done with shoes– turned them into sculptures, turned them into running tracks, collected them as if they are loot excavated from King Tut’s grave, then turned them into gaming consoles…but nothing thus far has been nearly as outrageous and outlandish and difficult to execute as transforming them into musical instruments. With a zany concept and a even more admirable and bizarre ability to accomplish them to pitch perfection (pun absolutely intended), W+K Tokyo alongside a group of ambitious and incredibly talented hardware and sound engineers set out to transform Nike Free Run+ sneakers into instruments instead of just protection for your feet. As previously reported, Japanese break-beat group HIFANA then held a private performance in Tokyo with these shoes, swapping them out for their usual mixers and sound set up.
The way this crazy project was executed was rather ingenious, not to mention tedious– for both the engineers and HIFANA. First, hardware including three sensors were attached to the soles of the shoes, and these sensors will send serial codes to the computer when bent or inclined at certain angles. These serial codes will them be transformed into music output. However, to the W+K Tokyo crew who only strive for perfection, having these sensors didn’t generate enough sounds and tones, so they developed a software to go along with their new instruments.
The engineers were rather worried about letting people other than engineers handle the shoes, and the learning process wasn’t quite so easy for HIFANA at first. But, as the performance we had previously posted proved, HIFANA exceeded expectations and gave one of the most memorable performances with shoes. Check out the behind-the-scenes video and then go back to the original video to fully appreciate the extraordinary project from Nike, W+K Tokyo and HIFANA.