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Walkie Talkies: Recycled phones embedded in fancy footwear

Recycled cell phones get a fashionable new lease on life as they're embedded into the soles of high heels, Wellington boots, running shoes, and men's dress shoes.

Maxwell Smart never had a Welliephone.

The shoe phone is not a new idea. Just ask Agent Maxwell Smart. Still, nothing Smart wore was ever quite so fashionable as what designer Sean Miles has come up with for a campaign to encourage phone recycling.

The "Walkie Talkies" project presents recycled cell phones built into classic footwear. Miles' creations came about at the behest of O2 Recycle, a U.K. company that buys used handsets and other gadgets. Recycled phones from O2 Recycle have been embedded into a Christian Louboutin heel, a men's brogue, a Nike Air training shoe, and a Hunter Welly.

Unlike Smart's shoe phone, all of these phone/footwear mashups are totally functional. The keypads are incorporated into the soles. Says Miles, "I wondered how I could make phones that people might be embarrassed to be seen with into something that would give them a new lease of life -- which is what upcycling is all about."

Each pair of Walkie Talkies is valued at around $4,000. The Wellies are by far my favorite of the bunch. The added amount of impracticality of talking into a big rubber boot really puts it over the top for me. I would be happy to be seen in public yapping into the sole of that beast.

The Walkie Talkies will go on show to the public in March, with visitors getting a chance to win them. The design collaboration between Miles and O2 Recycle will soon be expanded with the addition of handbags and gloves with embedded phones. Pretty soon, you might have an entire wardrobe full of clothes that can also make calls.