Treadway designed his shoes to help make public transportation more attractive to users who find getting to and from train or bus stations just a bit too much trouble. By designing the shoes to seamlessly convert from motorized transportation to standard footwear compatible with traditional transportation modes, Treadway hopes to make the shoes convenient for all types of users and thus eliminate potential blocks to their adoption. The shoes could also be a godsend to people with minor mobility issues who can stand and walk on their own but not necessarily handle extended walks to the store, bus stops, or train station.
Another advantage to motorized shoes is their cost – they are significantly cheaper than electric cars or motorized bicycles or other environmentally friendly transportation options. While clearly not capable of the same type of extended trips as these other options, the shorter range of the motorized shoes is ideal for urban environments where travel is often measured in blocks rather than miles. The shoes plug into standard electrical outlets for charging, so they could easily be worn to work then recharged for the trip home.
Specific details about the sneaker design are still somewhat nebulous. Treadway’s website shows pictures of several different models and designs – all based on standard sneakers – but it is unclear which the preferred design is or if they are all under consideration for production models. Similarly, almost no information has been released about the remote control and the options it might provide wearers. Other details such as the average distance traveled per charge are also unavailable.
TFOT has previously reported on a variety of other environmentally friendly personal transportation options including the GoPet electronic scooter, the Embrio single wheeled vehicle powered by hydrogen fuel cells, the PUMA personal vehicle capable of traveling up to 35 miles per hour for up to 35 miles on a single charge, Toyota’s alternative to the Segway (called the Winglet), and the EasyGlider X6 battery operated folding scooter.
Read more about the concept behind Treadway’s motorized sneakers at Peter Treadway’s website.