I honestly don't know where to begin with this pair of trainers that PC manufacturer NZXT and fashion outfit Artifact Studios announced last night. At first, I thought it was merely a fancy sneaker with an RTX 3080 ground into the heel - a feat that, during a global graphics card shortage, would have made my soul cry big salty tears of bitter discontent. Upon closer inspection, though, it seems they've built an entire PC inside this enormous piece of footwear, with an NZXT cooler, motherboard and fans all visible through the transparent purple side panel. It's an impressive feat, to be sure, but I also have so many questions. How does it run? How many feet per second can you travel in these things? And will the fans help keep my toes nice and cool, or will they tear my soles to absolute shreds?
I jest, of course, but it does beg the question whether this is the logical endpoint of the games industry's weird love affair with shoes right now. After all, once you've stuck an entire PC inside your gaming shoe, where else is there to go? Laces that double up as controller cables?
So far, it doesn't look as though the NZXT x RTFKT shoes have a proper name yet, but here's what they look like in the flesh.
— Artifact Studios (@RTFKTstudios) January 20, 2021
It's also not clear if or when they'll be available to buy, either, as Artifact's website merely points to a sign-up button for their mailing list at the moment. Indeed, the only thing Artifact Studios have actually said about the shoes so far is contained in a single tweet: "We're super excited to announce a partnership with NZXT, empowering RTFKT and our creators community to create the future of fashion and collectibles, powering our vision, community and crazy ideas with their awesome builds and love of gaming."
Does this mean people will be able to create their own customisable versions of these PC shoes at some point down the line? Or will it be a one-size-fits-all, kind of deal? Who can say.
These NZXT sneakers aren't the first gaming-related shoes Artifact have made. Take a quick glance at their Instagram page, for example, and their mad collection of gaming footwear goes all the way back to April 2019. There are Minecraft-inspired Air Jordans, eye-searingly pink Fall Guys trainers, and PlayStation 5 trainers with cute little buttons on the tongue to name just a few.
Would you buy a pair of PC sneakers if you had the chance?