Cars That Look Like Shoes—Redux


Text and photo by Brian J Pape, AIA

Pair of promotional vans for the shoe company Van’s on Washington Street. Photo by Brian J Pape

Last month, when Village View highlighted a pair of promotional vans for the shoe company Van’s on Washington Street (right), we never imagined someone would actually offer a pairing like this.
But then, in Dezeen Magazine’s online 2/8/23 issue, Tom Ravenscroft reported how Japanese auto maker Nissan has collaborated with the sportswear company New Balance to create the Kicks 327 model, an electric-powered ‘e-Power 4WD’ car that has been tricked out to resemble a shoe, or more specifically, the New Balance 327 trail running model trainer. The shoe’s gray suede upper was simulated with a graphic print, covering the wheel arches and side panels, laces were represented on the hood/bonnet, while the collar, tongue and eye stay were replicated on the roof as part of the luggage rack. The body wrap even covers the rear windows, though not opaquely.

Photo Credit: Nissan Motors

The image above is a real mind-bender, juxtaposing scales, either making the car look like a toy the size of a shoe, or blowing up a shoe to be the size of a car. But as we showed in last month’s Van’s Scene, a car or van can be made to look like a shoe. The irony is that if the car was modeled after the shoe, it would be more aerodynamically designed than any SUV on the market, with a lower nose.

The Kicks 327 will be on display at various locations in Tokyo throughout February and will also be driven around the city, Dezeen reported. Is it advertising? Is it fashion? Is it art? Maybe it will be part of Jay Leno’s collection of special cars? Could we be seeing it driving around the Village?