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Moonwalkers, the wheeled shoes that want to take the fun out of walking

Turbo-capitalist dream or useful green accessory?


I bet you all think at least once a day that you need a way to maximize the speed of your micro-movements.

Don't you? Well, in case it ever becomes your new obsession, someone on the other side of the ocean has already invented the solution.

Moonwalker, the world's fastest shoes

Produced by Shift Robotics and available in the US for 1,400 dollars, the Moonwalkers electric wheeled shoes could be just the thing for you, turning you into a kind of rollerblading waitress from an American 80s film. But on steroids, as they say.

They are worn over one's shoes and effortlessly, thanks to a 300 watt motor powering a total of 18 wheels, reach 11 kilometers per hour, compared to a slow walk of 4. One limitation is weight: they can carry a maximum of 100 kilos, although this quota could be partially exceeded.

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Un post condiviso da Shift Robotics (@shiftrobotics)

The Austin, Texas-based company advertises them on its Instagram page as “the world's fastest shoes”, without fear of contradiction. These shoes - somewhere between Teva sandals and skates - certainly represent a new type of alternative mobility, but the question is: were they really needed?

What are Moonwalkers for

“Maximise your day” is one of the claims that accompanied the launch of these special shoes. The slogan embraces the idea that in a world that is spinning faster and faster, you have to accept entropy and start going even faster, even if you are walking. Which is why I wouldn't be surprised if we soon see them on the feet of some self-styled productivity guru in Dubai.

Moonwalkers, however, are also sold as a synonym for “effortless mobility”: a way to “save time on commuting” and enjoy “more leisure activities”.
All “effortless”. It even appeals to an alleged adventurous spirit of potential customers: the faster you walk, the more you 'explore' and the more you “connect” with other people.

Who are they targeting

In addition to the busy finance-bro, the other suitable target audience for Shift Robotics' product to me seems to be pensioners in the American suburbs, or at any rate those who don't have much desire or ability to walk.

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Un post condiviso da Shift Robotics (@shiftrobotics)

Some reviews on the Shift Robotics website testify to this. Like that of a 64-year-old professional who uses them to “fly” through the airports he often frequents for work. And to tell the truth, the feeling one gets when watching the videos is exactly that of constantly walking on a conveyor belt.

One criticism

The comments are mostly positive or very positive, although some recommend making the shoes, however portable, less heavy and in different sizes. Time magazine has already listed them as one of the best inventions of 2023, and they are likely to become an increasingly popular accessory with subsequent improvements.

What we have to ask ourselves, however, is whether we really need another way to optimize our time without being able to enjoy even a slow, lazy post-lunch walk anymore.



Illustration by Gloria Dozio - Acrimònia Studios