I won’t bore you with the reasons why someone came up with the idea of TV-pausing, pizza-ordering shoes. But let me tell you how they work.
Pizza Hut came up with a marketing stunt last year: a pair of unique sneakers that could order a pizza at the press of a button (from Pizza Hut, obviously). These shoes, called Pie Tops II, have made a comeback this year. As a reviewer of wearable tech, I was naturally intrigued.
I had the chance to try them on and discover the magic behind them. To my surprise, the technology behind these shoes wasn’t as advanced as I had imagined. Essentially, they are regular shoes with cleverly hidden smart buttons inside velcro-sealed pockets on each tongue.
Guess what’s inside? One of the shoes hides a Flic smart button, exclusively connected to Pizza Hut’s Pie Tops app (I tried resetting it for other purposes, but unfortunately, failed). The other shoe contains an IR blaster-type clicker, reminiscent of a 3D-printed gadget.
For sneaker enthusiasts, take note: these limited-edition shoes were created by the Shoe Surgeon, a custom sneaker designer based in Los Angeles. Last year’s Pie Tops from Pizza Hut were crafted in the same way.
The shoes come in either red or wheat-colored variants. The shoe with the smart button connects to the Pizza Hut Pie Tops app via Bluetooth, allowing for seamless one-press pizza ordering. On the other hand, the TV-clicker IR blaster shoe is compatible only with certain cable TV set-top box DVRs, enabling you to pause live television with a single button press. However, its usefulness is limited to DVR-box cable users.
If you’re itching to get your hands (or rather, feet) on a pair of Pizza Hut sneakers, you can order them starting from March 19 on HBX. But remember, they are only available for a limited time.
I’ve been wearing my own pair for a few days now, and honestly, they are a tad tight. However, they are gradually becoming more comfortable. Technically speaking, you could insert any other smart button into the shoes and make them do different things. Maybe we should call them “shoes-with-pockets” instead of smart shoes?
This marketing stunt perfectly coincides with March Madness, adding a touch of absurdity to the mix. Of course, branded eccentricity has been around for years, such as the Doritos MP3 player bag or an unfolding pizza turntable. But at least Pizza Hut’s creation is an actual wearable item.
There are already numerous other smart shoes in existence, ranging from GPS-enabled safety shoes to training and fitness shoes. Who knows, maybe future iterations of Pie Tops will include volume controls and voice assistance. But that’s just a passing thought.
In the realm of Tech Culture, this bizarre invention adds to the already diverse range of gadgets that merge technology with our everyday lives. And if you’re looking for some light-hearted tech experiences, stay tuned to Batteries Not Included, where the CNET team shares captivating stories that remind us why tech is so cool.