Outdoors

Link smashes the sneaker and flip-flop together to create a weird wearable outsole

Link smashes the sneaker and f...
Stepping out like you you're staying in
Stepping out like you you're staying in
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"That's right, I have something incredibly weird on my feet"
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"That's right, I have something incredibly weird on my feet"
Is it us, or is that middle right toe sticking right out the front?
2/21
Is it us, or is that middle right toe sticking right out the front?
Lying by oneself in the park ... the perfect use of the flip-shoe
3/21
Lying by oneself in the park ... the perfect use of the flip-shoe
Link says the flip-shoe works for running, cycling, skateboarding and more
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Link says the flip-shoe works for running, cycling, skateboarding and more
If you're gonna wear it, wear it with confidence 
5/21
If you're gonna wear it, wear it with confidence 
The rest of the subway passengers might have been frightened away by the flip-shoes
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The rest of the subway passengers might have been frightened away by the flip-shoes
Inside or outside
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Inside or outside
The flip-shoes come in red, orange or blue mixed with black
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The flip-shoes come in red, orange or blue mixed with black
The jointed sole is there to provide more natural movement
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The jointed sole is there to provide more natural movement
At first, the flip-shoes look made for the beach, but with the open side slats and a concave interior, we think the wearer would be walking in a pile of sand within a few steps
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At first, the flip-shoes look made for the beach, but with the open side slats and a concave interior, we think the wearer would be walking in a pile of sand within a few steps
The TPU side ribs help the flip-shoe stay on
11/21
The TPU side ribs help the flip-shoe stay on
Downtown? Why not! 
12/21
Downtown? Why not! 
Flip-shoe to kickflip?
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Flip-shoe to kickflip?
The point and shoot
14/21
The point and shoot
We guess the subway crowds warmed up
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We guess the subway crowds warmed up
Even the paparazzi took notice
16/21
Even the paparazzi took notice
Stepping out like you you're staying in
17/21
Stepping out like you you're staying in
The Link flip-shoe is available now on Indiegogo for pledge levels of $69+
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The Link flip-shoe is available now on Indiegogo for pledge levels of $69+
The light, airy wear of a flip-flop, support and protection of a sneaker
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The light, airy wear of a flip-flop, support and protection of a sneaker
Link hopes its hybrid footwear will be the next shoe craze
20/21
Link hopes its hybrid footwear will be the next shoe craze
Link flip-shoe
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Link flip-shoe
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The way-out-of-the-box skimpy shoe market slowed down considerably since the trendy barefoot days of fuzzy five-toed shoe socks and chainmail foot sleeves just a few years back. Lately, though, it feels like it might be making something of a comeback. We've seen a few oddball ultralight footwear concepts in recent months, and the Link flip-shoe is possibly the weirdest of them all, the lightest slice of footwear we've seen since adhesive foot pads. Designed to combine the advantages of flip-flops and sneakers into one, these "sole-based shoes" keep your feet free, cool and protected ... and probably at the business end of an endless flurry of sneers and jokes.

Link sets out to combine the free, breezy comfort of the flip-flop with the protection and support of a sneaker. At least some of that very mix is already available in the form of a closed-toe sport sandal like the Keen Newport H2, but Link has something different in mind. And to be fair, its thick, bright flip-shoe does appear to offer a better mix of cushy underfoot support and easy slip-on design than many a sport sandal. On the other hand, it doesn't appear quite as effective in terms of toe protection since it leaves everything but the toe tips exposed — or at least that's how it appears in the photos.

"Sole-based shoe" is an apt description, as the meat of the flip-shoe design is below the foot. A wrapping heel counter, side ribs and a slight toe box extend up from the sole to better secure around the foot. It's a shoe without an upper, a flip-flop without a thong or straps.

Link says the flip-shoe works for running, cycling, skateboarding and more
Link says the flip-shoe works for running, cycling, skateboarding and more

Link claims the design offers the cool summer comfort of a flip-flop when out on the street but with better adherence to the foot during walking and less fear of toe-stubbing. It even says you can run, bike and skateboard in it, though we're not sure we'd want to. We're even less sure about the claim that the flip-shoe is "always appropriate for work."

Link's flip-shoe is a simple piece of footwear, but there are still a few materials and components at work. Cushioning comes from a breathable EVA insole with anti-odor/bacterial properties, while traction comes from sole pads interlaced with flex joints that mimic the joints of the foot to deliver more natural movement. Hard TPU sides hug the foot for a closer, surer fit.

The jointed sole is there to provide more natural movement
The jointed sole is there to provide more natural movement

Bright, open-topped foot pods aren't really our thing, but they do look like an interesting alternative for travel, packing fairly small and working for a variety of activities, from hitting the hotel pool to strolling through town on a warm afternoon.

Link's flip-shoes are doing a lot better in crowdfunding than naysayers might expect. Link hit its Indiegogo goal in just over a day after launching and is now moving toward tripling that goal with over a month left to go. So someone's digging them. If that's you, you'll find them for early bird pricing as low as US$69 per pair, less if you buy two or more. If all goes according to plan, they'll start shipping in November of this year. Retail price is estimated at a far less enticing $119.

Source: Indiegogo

View gallery - 21 images
13 comments
Jason Catterall
Why?
Joshua Tulberg
I can't decide which is worse: This, or those single-use stickers for the bottom of your feet. Oh man. Tough choice.
Aloysius
Capitalism at its best. Creatively throwing pasta at the kitchen wall to see what sticks.
FerrisPoobah
Aloysius: While I personally have no use for shoes such as these, I realize that others might find that they fit their lives perfectly and either solve a problem/issue, or simply improve day-to-day life. Capitalism is what enables this, as the people responsible for this product believe there is an incentive to bring such a product to market, while likely understanding that there is a possibility for failure.
Fletcher
Good luck, it's possibly these could fit just right but my bet/guess is they won't. I say these will sell a bunch to fad followers at 1st, then fade away once word of mouth gets out on how easily these fall off from being to lose or when you bend your toes walking (no running for sure.) If they fit wrong at all or are to stiff these will leave blisters which is just as bad as falling off. I also guess they'll make money regardless as the cost to make is minimal and so long as they don't blow money on advertising/marketing campaigns.
Dan Cole
Perfect beachwear? Protecting the bottoms of your feet from the scorching hot Florida sand, sidewalks, and parking lots, while apparently strolling painlessly barefooted to and from the water's edge. No more skipping, dancing ouch, ouch, ouch all the way back to your car!
PAV
I can't imagine these working at the beach where sand is thrown up and into the inside of the Footwear.
Douglas Bennett Rogers
You might need some pool shoes you can wear right into the gym and not need to carry and extra pair of shoes. Flip flops are not allowed in the gym and wisely so. These shoes look like they are held on via the toes, which is truly awful. I had some breathable sole slip on Merills which I can't find anymore which were perfect for this. The next best thing is cheap Velcro closure track shoes as sold at Walmart.
ljaques
One of the Kavorkian (oops, I meant Kardashian) girls must have been seen in a pair. That price is evidently a "fashion statement".
China, $6, next year. Any bets? (If they're comfy.)
dwhiteside327
I thought the benefit of using "not-shoe" shoes was that it forced the foot to develop (work muscles our shoes usually prevent from working...) and created a healthier foot?
This looks to be more of the too much protection for the foot...so why pay a premium price to not get the benefit I'm looking for?