In the future, we will have shoes that turn into roller skates just by triggering a switch. The future may be as close as early 2016 if Indiegogo project Walk Wing delivers on an entertaining combination of overshoes and roller skates. These are like those kids' shoes with the wheels in the heel ramped up to a higher level of existence.
When I was a kid, I had a weird set of metal roller skates that strapped onto my regular shoes. They were terrible. They pinched my toes and the wheels barely functioned. I always thought it was a great idea that needed a lot of refinement. The Walk Wing seems to be up to the challenge, despite some potential drawbacks.
The Walk Wings strap over your shoes (don't try this with high heels). A lever lowers the wheels to turn your shoes into roller skates whenever you feel like it. The wheels then retract for those times you want regular walking footwear again.
Replaceable brakes are tucked into the heels of the Walk Wings so you don't get too out of control when you're cruising down a hill. The wheels look a lot like the kind you find on in-line skates, but the project says they are custom made just for the Walk Wing.
It looks like a lot of fun, but the gadget is also pretty bulky. Walk Wing creator YoungJoo Lee tells CNETs Crave blog that the outsoles are made with same kind of material found in running-shoe soles and that it feels like wearing regular sneakers when walking with the wheels up.
The campaign is aiming for a flexible-funding goal of $50,000. So far, it has attracted just over $3,500 in funding with 46 days left to run. The early-bird pledge price of $90 (about £58, AU$122) is still available. The regular price is $99 (about £64, AU$134).
The cost isn't crazy for a shoe-worn gadget that could potentially replace your skateboard or regular roller skates. All the usual crowdfunding wariness applies here, of course. It's up to backers to determine the level of risk and whether they're comfortable putting money toward a project. If it all works out for Walk Wing, expect to see them popping up on the sidewalks of Venice Beach, California, sometime next year.