Sean Miles is giving the term “walkie talkies” a brand new meaning. The U.K. artist has created a series of “handsets” by embedding cellphones into the soles of various vintage shoes, including a Christian Louboutin heel, a Nike Air trainer, a classic men’s brogue, and a Hunter Wellington boot. No new cellphones were harmed in the making of the wacky devices: Miles worked with O2, a mobile telecommunications provider that also pays people to recycle unwanted gadgets, to transform outdated Nokia and LG models into fully functional—and wearable—works of art.

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Miles created his shoe-phones not only for amusement’s sake but also to get people talking about the need to recycle, rather than throw away, old electronics. “I’ve been using them while out with friends and they never fail to start a conversation, even when I’m not using them as a phone!” he told the Daily Mail on Monday.

Britons purchase roughly 30 million new cellphones every year, according to O2.

Britons purchase roughly 30 million new cellphones every year, according to O2. “While we may not be able to upcycle every phone that we receive, I hope that this project will prompt a few more of the 30 million people a year who buy a new handset to recycle their old one,” Bill Eyres, head of the company’s recycling arm, said. “There’s a huge environmental need to dig out old gadgets so they can be used again, rather than lying unused and unloved in the drawer.”

O2 either sends recycled phones along for others to use or strips them of their metals for repurposing. “We’ve all got a role to play in making sure that phones live on even when we’ve finished with them,” Eyres added.

Miles isn’t planning on stopping at shoes, either. The designer has his eye on phone-bags (so we don’t have to scramble to find our phones in the bottomless pits of our purses) and phone-gloves next. “I wondered how I could make phones that people might be embarrassed to be seen with into something that would give them a new lease of life—which is what upcycling is all about,” he said.

+ O2 Recycle

[Via Daily Mail]