This little film promotes the what one wants to call the reboot of Feiyue, the Chinese sneaker favored by martial artists since the 1920s. In 2006, a French company bought rights to the brand, retooling the kicks for a Western market by essentially engineering out everything that appealed to Shaolin monks—lack of padding in the soles, flexibility in the uppers—in favor of fashion-forward stylings and the supportive, heavy build Westerners expect in their footwear.
The conceit elaborated in this video is fun—a Western hacker-type in bare-bulb basement light gluing up his hover shoes from a kit. But there’s an interesting subtext here, too. China, after all, is where Western kicks go to be reborn in a thousand pirated variations in nameless factories by numbed minions without any interest in the product over which they’re soullessly laboring. Or that anyway is the image, the standard-issue story of footwear-technology transfer in a flat world. Reverse the polarity of that story and you get… something like this. It’s sort of like one of those George Clooney or Matt Damon movies in which an American action hero gets tortured by nefarious terror-bent dudes in Jeri curls. When the reality is somehow quite the opposite. —via Core77