Although the designs of smash hit anime Evangelion’s titular titanic robots are ingrained on the psyches of animation and science fiction fans the world over, early on it had a bit of an uphill battle. Compared to the lines of other mecha franchises like Gundam, the Evas were downright gangly. Evangleion’s war machines resembled slouchy adolescents, right down to their feet where instead of the knightly armored boots of their predecessors, the Eva’s appeared to be wearing ordinary shoes.
Now fans can bring things full-circle with a line of Evangelion loafers.
The anime-inspired footwear comes courtesy of a collaboration between Eva fashion retailer Radio Eva and shoemaker Marqui. One of the secrets to Evangelion’s success is the franchise’s large collection of memorable characters and machinery, and the newly crafted, confusingly named Eva Toy Shoes (which are fully-functional shoes for adults) are no less colorful than the source material from which they draw.
This bright red pair brings to mind both the fiery personality of Eva pilot Asuka Shikinami, as well as her similarly-colored Evangelion Unit-02. Like the giant robots themselves, the Eva shoes can be outfitted with various bits of optional equipment as the situation warrants. Outfitting your kick with pressure-resistant armor or a giant sniper rifle wouldn’t win you any fashion points, though, so instead each pair in the Eva Toy Shoes line comes with attachments such as ribbons, tassels, and coin-displaying straps.
Of course, you can’t make a batch of Eva merchandise without including the main character’s robot mount, as we see with this pair that features the iconic purple and green hues of main character Shinji’s Unit-01.
Coloring choices get a little more suspect with some of the line’s other offerings, however. Ask most fans what color they think is most evocative of unnervingly reserved Eva pilot Rei Ayanami, and most would say the sky blue of her hair, or maybe her crimson eyes. The only nod to either in the shoes named for her is in their stitching.
Ironically, the shoes that make the most extensive use of Rei’s hair color are instead named for series protagonist Shinji, despite the fact that he’s never prominently shown in clothing or a mecha of such a shade.
The Shinji model is the only pair that Radio Eva specifies as being for women only, as the other three sets are all classified as unisex. Each pair retails for 14,800 yen (US$144) plus tax, and can be purchased through the Radio Eva online shop.
Coloring quibbles aside, there’s no denying that the Eva Toy Shoes are extremely eye-catching. One of Eva’s central themes is whether or not connecting to other individuals makes humanity happier. For those that think the benefits outweigh the positives, you’d be hard-pressed to find footwear more likely to leave you in someone else’s thoughts and memories than these.