Smart Sneakers To Overpower Fast Fashion Trend

Muchaneta Kapfunde | @FashNerdEditor

Can smart sneakers overpower the fast fashion trend? Well the possibilities of design have not been as vast as they are today. With the advancement of technology, the impossible is starting to seem possible. As fashion continues to embrace technology, we will reap the benefits of the relationship by embracing ideas such as the Smart Surface Sneaker.


Still a concept, the Smart Surface Sneaker is the brainchild of +rehabstudio, a Shoreditch based creative technology agency. They have revolutionized sneakers through design, function and embracing the progression of smart tech materials such as conductive and reactive fibres. They are making it is easy for us to imagine the future of the sneaker transforming beyond being just a shoe. Their idea is to create a smart surface that thinks and reacts to external stimuli. The outcome will be that the sneaker’s design will be able to change through the tap of a smartphone or the click of heel.

The shift sneaker will be designed with principal tech apparel that include phase change fibres and shape memory materials that will enable interchangeability, meta materials that will manipulate fabric tissue and conductive threads woven into the sneakers membrane to pass electrical signals that react to human touch.


The wearer will be able to shift the style and functionality of their sneakers by downloading different ‘packs’ from a sneaker specific app store. In the Pack Store, the wearer can pick styles ranging from subtle glows to animated graphics. +Rehabstudio also plans to collaborate with artists and brands who will design limited edition packs.

With the project having just launched, we must admit that the thought of a smart surface sneaker with design control does not seem like an out of this world idea. +Rehabstudio’s vision of designing such innovative sneakers makes such a great statement and proves that FashionTech can be more than just a gimmick. It can, and it will be more than that.

The two main features that we love about these sneakers are, for those who run, they can use the design as a pacesetter. This means that your sneakers can glow green, blue or red depending on whether you are ahead of your target, on target or behind it. For those who cycle, they can shine bright in the dark without reflective clothing or expensive lights.  Secondly, when you buy one pair of sneakers, you in actuality buy 100’s, because you have the power to buy as little or as much designs as you fancy, giving you the ability to easily match your sneakers to your outfit, personality or even mood. How great is that? I am happy to say that I think these are the kinds of sneakers that will take a big bite out of the Fast Fashion trend that has had us by the throat for a while now. +Rehabstudio sneakers are all about ease, the ease of changing the design of our perfectly functional sneakers without breaking sweat! These smart sneakers and other smart apparel to follow will give us the power to maybe not overthrow fast fashion’s reign but to at least slow it down so we no longer feel the need to constantly buy a new wardrobe.


The only downfall so far, was smartly pointed out by a FashNerd reader, Elizabeth P Gibbons. She stated she can wear out her trainers with 12 months due to gym use etc so it would be great if the designers could add a sole subscription along with the Pack Store app. We think that is such a great idea, that will mean that you do not have to always buy new sneakers should your sole wear out. The sole replacement will make sure that they will truly be the kind of sneakers you can fashionably wear a longer time.

Lastly, with wearable technology no longer considered a ‘phase’, the possibilities of what we can design and create are endless. With that in mind we look forward to #ShiftSneaker leading the FashionTech revolution and showing us how to digitally upgrade our sneakers.

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