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    Open the homepage to SHOESTORE.COM. Dropdown menu: Running, Basketball, Outdoors, Tennis, Lifestyle. Each sneaker purpose-built for one specific function; stiff plastic reinforced arches for tennis, traction-maxxed special-formula rubber soles for basketball, near ridiculously large cushioned midsoles for running. Once the sneakers are unable to perform in the single task they were designed for, they are simply thrown away, piling up in landfills, where they sit, unable to break down in any conceivable timeframe. So maybe shoes are designed for two uses: What they are advertised as being for, and to sit as waste for years to come. Instead of trying to produce shoes that are somehow more ecologically conscious than their same factory-produced predecessors, the scraps of this garbage can be salvaged to create ‘new’ multi-function shoes. 

    The mad-scientist types of the 20th century saw grafting as a way to lengthen human life. Taking organs and parts of animals and transplanting them into human subjects, these intellectuals devoid of common sense believed they could not only prevent, but even reverse aging. The long sought after fountain of youth was filled with the blood of baboons, apparently. While this pseudo-scientific experimentation doesn’t have much grounding in reality, the idea of grafting different parts to improve and make hardier is wildly successful in agriculture. By removing and replacing branches from other species, a tree can produce multiple fruits, rather than just one as it did before. Not only does this make the tree that much more useful, but it also has led to the hybridization of different fruit varieties, creating new fruits from the grafting process. 

    Grafting sneakers from different worn parts makes these discarded objects useful again. Like the mad scientists believed, the combination of disparate but congruent pieces can improve and create. Through an assemblage of different sneaker technologies, a multi-use shoe can not only be created, but sustained and improved by continually adding and repairing. The stiffness of the tennis shoes’ arch is united with the cushioning of the running shoe, the high-topped basketball sneaker providing ankle support, all of these pieces combining into sneakers that become useful to the everyday wearer, rather than simply their hyper-specialized counterparts. Through this salvaging of garbage, it is possible to combine technologies that major sneaker producers cannot. Adidas’ Torsion system can meet Nike’s Zoom foam to help balance out stiffness and a cushy step; the now famous Nike Air Technology can be paired with Puma’s Foam+ to create an unmatched level of shock absorption, with Adidas X-lock helping to provide stability in the ankle. This piracy from the refuse of used sneakers helps to create a more useful and all-encompassing amalgamation of technologies. 

    The piracy and amalgamation of sneaker technologies allows me to make footwear that is both comfortable and capable, all while repurposing and recycling material to reduce waste. This also allows the shoes to be repaired and reused over and over again, further implementing new technologies and materials over time, evolving to better fit any role they might need to serve in the oncoming environmental apocalypse.

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