Sir Richard Branson is no stranger to stunts. He celebrated the first Virgin America flight by bungee jumping off the Palms Hotel Casino in Las Vegas. He drove a tank down Fifth Avenue in New York City to launch Virgin Cola. He’s attended events dressed in a space suit, a kilt, white feathered wings, and drag (more than once).
By comparison, Virgin America’s new ‘First Class Shoe’ almost seems tame. Almost.
Created in partnership with Eleven and SearchnDesign, the shoe is the latest in a long line of publicity stunts from the eccentric billionaire. The First Class Shoe, as its name suggests, was inspired by Virgin America’s First Class amenities. There’s an airplane seat buckle strapped across the ankle. A WiFi hotspot and a USB charging port are built in. A functioning TV screen is embedded in the tongue. The shoe even comes with Virgin’s iconic mood lighting.
Like flying first class, these futuristic kicks don’t come cheap. Only one pair has been produced, and it’s currently up for auction on eBay. At the time of writing, the bid has hit US$2,000 with over a week to go. Even Nike’s self-lacing Air Mags aren’t that scarce.
The good news is, all proceeds from the auction will benefit the Soles 4 Souls charity, a nonprofit organisation that has collected and distributed 26 million pairs of shoes since 2006. Get a feel for the first class footwear in the photos above, and watch the video below to see it in action.