Wang Zhijun was tired of running through thick Chinese smog in uncomfortable, stupid-looking face masks. So he took a knife and cut open a pair of sneakers.
Wang, a Beijing-based designer, has become a minor Instagram phenomenon for his cool-looking smog-filtering face masks, made from the entrails of sneakers.
Wang’s main problem with face masks made by 3M and Respro was twofold: They weren’t comfortable; and, they didn’t look good. Sneakers, he realized, are made of breathable, comfortable, attractive materials, which makes them good material for masks.
So far, Wang has cut up rarities like the Yeezy Boost 350 V2s and classics like the the Nike Air Max 90s. He hopes to draw attention to China’s nasty pollution, so thick in many cities that the landscape is obscured. In December this year, people were ordered to stay indoors because of heavy smog and dozens of flights were grounded.