Gaetano Pesce's alterable shoe for Melissa Shoes, Brazil.

Perhaps it was an uniformed slip of vocabulary, using “interactive” in the description of these user-alterable shoes. Yet when the tagline of this NYTimes Magazine article read, “An Italian architect and designer designs an interactive ankle bootie for the masses,” I thought, in my designer-conscious mind, “Wow, interactive, eh? I wonder how and what it communicates with the user.” I immediately wanted to simultaneously scoff at and kick myself for thinking that this highly debated definition in the interactive design field would be handled with such delicacy by the rest of the world. As a designer, you’ve got to be spot on when you call something “interactive,” especially when speaking to user interface or experience professionals. Yet it’s simply an umbrella term for “the user can change this product in some way,” for journalists, businessmen, etc. The whole insignificant situation made me a bit nostalgic for the days when I had less information in my brain; the days when I didn’t have to stop myself and say, “Hello! Are you being pretentious!?”

Nonetheless, once you buy the shoe, you can alter it by cutting it in any way. The “ankle bootie” is made out of PVC circles, and it’s built to be edited. This shoe is, conceptually, a good idea. I might even go as far as to say that I like the concept! (And how very un-designer that would be!) Well, check out the article for more info 😉