A few decades ago, it wasn’t so strange to see shoe shiners by the roadside, accompanied by brushes, polish and aniline. Now times have changed, as have fashions. Along the sidewalks now it’s harder to find men in suits, derbies or leather loafers, rather colorful Nike sneakers or adidas.
Israeli designer Tidhar Zagagi has chosen to become a more updated version of the early 20th century shoe shiner, launching “Pixel Shoe.”
This is not a leather shoe restoration project, rather the work of an actual shoemaker, using polyurethane and the socks of passersby.
Accompanied by a wooden cart, Zagagi makes sneakers very similar to the Balenciaga Speed Runner in concept. “Pixel Shoe” is an interactive project, in fact, passersby, by sitting on the cart, can place their feet on a shape that creates an irregular profile of the foot, defining the shape of the sole. At that point Tidhar Zagagi makes the polyurethane sole, which hardens and adheres to the sock, matching the sole of the foot.
“Pixel Shoe” is a sustainable project, highlighting the possibilities of the fashion industry to create products with minimal environmental impact. You don’t need a factory or a production cycle to make sneakers, you just need a cart and the idea of the potential of materials.
The colorful soles then are an interesting style detail. The sole aligns with the concept of barefoot footwear, increasingly present on the market thanks to brands like Vibram and perfect for health and injury prevention.