Humans carry plenty of items around with them each day in pockets and purses, but with her new conceptual line of shoes, designer Netha Goldberg is harnessing the previously untapped potential of footwear for storage and sharing.
Entitled NETINA, the outlandish collection includes three pairs of knit shoes: one with electrical charging ports, another with docks for dozens of matchsticks, and a third that can carry and display various sizes of tampons.
Goldberg, a Tel Aviv native, chose to highlight these commonly-shared objects to facilitate more social interaction. “The human body contains various opportunities for carrying objects that can be useful for ourselves and to those around us,” she says. “Our feet contain such benefits and also obtain the true characteristic of movement: movement as in being dynamic and active, but also movement that symbolizes the transfer and giving of an object to another.”
This shoe line provides a way to “give on-the-go” with “as little effort as possible,” the artist says on her website. She believes the “ability to give is a source of comfort and happiness,” and that NETINA “examines the world of cooperatives in an unconventional way that answers the sincere desire to give and receive as a way to create a beneficial and open society.”
“I started researching what people like to give and to receive while they are on the go,” Goldberg continues. For example, a light for a passerby’s cigarette is contained in the spiky white matchstick shoes. They “represent the element of fire – an element we have been transferring to one another since the beginning of time.”
Similarly, the red NETINA shoes are ringed with 12 candlestick-like holders for tampons. Instead of being tucked out of sight in a tote, Goldberg makes the feminine hygiene product visible in an “extroverted manner.”
The final pair in the collection features six USB charging ports, all of which can provide power to nearby individuals via a portable charger hidden in the shoe sole. The back of the blue slipper can be plugged into an outlet for battery recharging, and a bright orange charging cable can even be threaded around for convenient transport.
Every shoe in the collection has a barcode stamped onto the back that will link to a social app when scanned, facilitating even more community interaction.
Goldberg, a recent graduate in industrial design from Israel’s Shenkar College, says she paid close attention to “the matter of weight and size” when configuring the footwear to ensure functionality. She attributes her core design values to her upbringing in a collective Israeli kibbutz, with the emphasis on daily cooperation with others shaping her artistic process above all else. She also feels that “we develop an emotional relationship with our daily usage objects,” and that “I have a desire to put an added value on each object in addition to … extraordinary functionality; this added value is the path to the emotional relationship.”
Other storage items in her creative past include the Rua Bag, a leather satchel that can be attached to a bicycle bar for comfortable travel, and the Pulpy Piggy Bank, a coin container that offers a “satisfying sensory experience” when unraveled by its red string.