scorecardA viral TikTok video of a strap-on shoe that helps you walk faster has gotten 25 million views. The founder says it's designed for everyone — even though it costs $1,400.
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A viral TikTok video of a strap-on shoe that helps you walk faster has gotten 25 million views. The founder says it's designed for everyone — even though it costs $1,400.

Reena Koh   

A viral TikTok video of a strap-on shoe that helps you walk faster has gotten 25 million views. The founder says it's designed for everyone — even though it costs $1,400.
Tech3 min read
  • A TikTok video of shoes that claim to help you walk 250% faster went viral earlier this year.
  • The shoes are called Moonwalkers, and they'll set you back $1,399 a piece.

Sick of slow walkers? Well, there may be a solution for that, and it's called the Moonwalker.

A video of the shoes shared to TikTok went viral earlier this year. To date, the video has gotten 24.7 million views.

The video features people walking through cities and office spaces, appearing to exert a normal amount of effort — but gliding around at superhuman speeds. That's because the shoe will make you walk 250% faster, according to Xunjie Zhang, who developed it.

Zhang, the founder and CEO of Shift Robotics, claims the Moonwalker is the "world's fastest shoe."

"Like the moving walkways you see in airports, with every step you're making, the conveyer belt moves underneath your feet," Zhang told Insider.

An average person can cover about three miles per hour at a walking pace, Zhang says in the TikTok video. The Moonwalkers are meant to move up to seven miles per hour, he told Insider.

"The faster you walk, the faster the shoes walk with you," Zhang said.

@shiftrobotics What Are Moonwalkers??? Moonwalkers are the world’s fastest shoes that allow you to walk up to 7 mph, thats slightly double your average walking speed! Do you think this is the future of transportation? ‍♂️ #transportation #transportationdesign #moonwalkers #eshoes #electricshoes #worldsfastestshoes #ShiftRobotics #newtech #newgadgets #electrictransport #electrictechnology ♬ Stranger Things - Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein

The project has raised $330,000 on Kickstarter

Zhang has a background in robotics engineering. He holds a Master's in mechatronics from Carnegie Mellon University, and worked for over three years at Rolls-Royce, according to his LinkedIn.

To create Moonwalkers, he pulled together a team of race car engineers, roboticists, and sneaker designers. They formed Shift Robotics and built the shoes over the course of five years.

The team launched Moonwalkers on Kickstarter on October 25 and has since raised almost $330,000. Zhang said the team has received over 2,000 orders for the shoes, which Insider was able to verify.

The shoes were tested by people from ages 15 to over 60, and most people were able to walk in the shoes "pretty proficiently" within 10 to 15 minutes of strapping them on, Zhang said.

They're currently only available in the US, and they're expensive: Each pair sets you back $1,399. For now, the shoes only come in one size, fitting a men's 9 to 12.

Zhang told Insider that "no freewheeling" is one of the Moonwalkers' biggest safety features. "Unless you are walking, they are completely locked," Zhang said. The shoes are secured with a magnetic buckle, which can be unfastened in the event of malfunction, he said.

Not the first of its kind — and not everyone's buying the idea

The shoes were reviewed on Wired in December to a generally positive outcome. "It felt like I had superpowers for a little bit," wrote Wired's Brent Rose.

Rose was also surprised at how safe they felt, though he commented that the straps "do dig in a little bit."

But not everyone's keen on the idea.

"For the small small price of $1399," a sarcastic comment read on the viral TikTok video. "My city's beat sidewalk would never make this feasible," read another.

In 2015, on season seven of "Shark Tank," Acton pitched a similar product. Branded as Rocket Skates, these were motorized roller skates that strap onto shoes. Kevin O'Leary ended up offering $1 million for 15% equity, although it was turned down because of other investor obligations.

While Acton is still producing e-bikes and e-scooters, those skates are no longer on the market. Acton did not respond to Insider's request for comment.

Zhang said the "fundamental design philosophy" between Moonwalkers and Rocket Skates is "completely different." The Moonwalkers, he said, are not just for people who are good at rollerskating or skateboarding.

"We are ultimately looking at helping every pedestrian," he said.




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