K-Swiss shoes let your feet do the talkin'

K-Swiss has just introduced to Europe a new line of shoes called Stripe Shifters that allow kids to post coded messages. But "talking shoes" really aren't that new to us here at SNEWS®.
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K-Swiss has just introduced to Europe a new line of shoes called Stripe Shifters that allow kids to post coded messages. But "talking shoes" really aren't that new to us here at SNEWS®.

That's because, going back as far as middle school, our best friend Evan had shoes that would send a very loud message after a long day of sweaty play when he wasn't wearing socks. He would take off his shoes and the aroma -- akin to a pungent dairy field -- would wail, "Cover your nose!" and "Run for your life!" and "For the love of the planet, wash me!"

Of course, the new K-Swiss Stripe Shifters send kinder, gentler messages. Kids can adjust a series of five stripes to various heights and create unique combinations that serve as secret language codes, like a type of low-tech, silent Morse code. According to a recent press release, the shoes were given to kids in focus groups, and the most popular phrases were, "I'm single!," "Peace," "Want 2 Play?," "Respect," and "I'm in Love."

Now there's a website (www.kswiss.co.uk) where about 230,000 people have logged on to create languages and display them. Don't they have anything better to do than to teach their shoes to talk to each other?

Apparently, the Stripe Shifter trend is sweeping Europe, and kids in each country have put their own spin on the coded language. According to the release, the Dutch created more flirtatious phrases such as "I'm too hot to be single," and "Wanna keep me company," while the British created more life statements such as "Unity" and "Keep it Real."

Sure, it's a bit jarring to learn that kids are telling each other they're "too hot to be single." Where's the child-like innocence? What about a simple "Meet me at the playground," or "Give me all your candy or I'll give you a wedgie."

As for where this trend might lead, we can see a time, perhaps not so very far away, where the stripes can be electronically controlled, allowing the user to change not only stripe sizes and position, but also color. Teenagers and young adults alike will suddenly find they can easily "stripe" a message (Texting? Dark ages, like, for sure) to a nearby friend in class, in the hall or at the local hangout -- yet another way of communicating without really saying anything.

Shoes just for walkin? Man, that's so, so…yesterday.  

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