Heddels clothing guide has collaborated with the P.F. Flyers athletic shoe company to create a limited edition shoe inspired by the sneakers and the space suits worn by the Mercury astronauts in the early Space Age. The story of the connection of P.F. Flyers to the Mercury program and how the new shoes came about is told by Heddels’ David Shuck in Heddels CO-OP 3: The PF Flyers Mercury All-American
The concept was to make a shoe that was a microcosm of Project Mercury itself, incorporating as many materials and designs from the original program as possible. Mercury was NASA’s first attempt at putting a person into space, so everything they created was wholly original. It was also the late 1950s, where the boom of industrial technology development in World War II continued to advance at a breakneck pace. As a result, many of the artifacts from Mercury are crude customizations made from totally new materials.
“Space age” often evokes images of sleek minimalistic designs, Mercury, however, was anything but that. The suits themselves have an enormous amount of handwork and “aftermarket” customization (think more Star Wars than Star Trek). As astronauts and scientists discovered problems with their designs, they often built over them, rather than start from scratch.