Image: Matthew Gault
Playing video games for a living is hard work. You need skill, endurance, and, according to sneaker maker K-Swiss, the right footwear.The clothing you wear when you’re sitting down for hours at a time is important, as any frequent flier knows. Dress too nicely and your clothing becomes a prison, but looking like a total slob isn’t ideal, either. The same is true for the marathon gaming sessions that professional streamers and esports athletes regularly engage in. Enter the MIBR One-Tap, a new sneaker from K-Swiss that’s being marketed towards pro-gamers.
The esports athletes at the Immortal Gaming Club (IGC) helped K-Swiss design the shoe. Made in Brazil, or MIBR), is one of IGC’s teams and the shoe’s namesake. Just looking at the shoe gives you an idea of its gaming bonafides.True to the iconically over-the-top gamer aesthetic that plagues PC parts, the One-Tap is black with silver accents and the MIBR logo is emblazoned in white across the top of the shoe. They’re constructed from a light-weight mesh that allowed my sweaty gamer feet to breath. The sole of the sneaker is full of holes and a large vent sits over the arch, a feature K-Swiss calls the “flow cool system 2.0.”I had to try a pair. When I finally put them on, I was shocked when the cooling system worked. Never once, at the height of a Southern summer, did my feet get hot. I felt liquid-cooled and ready for some extreme gaming.
The first thing to note is that the K-Swiss MIBR One-Taps aren’t really sneakers, they’re slippers dressed up to look respectable. The MIBR crest on the heel folds down, allowing the hybrid shoe to be both a business-casual sneaker, and a slipper. Like the mighty mullet, the One-Tap is all business in the front and party in the back.This is important, because I was skeptical of the One-Tap at first. When K-Swiss told me it was crafting a shoe for pro-gamers, I pondered the logic behind making a shoe for an activity people do sitting and often barefoot, at least at home. Even in esports, dress codes vary depending on who’s running the tournament and most regulations don’t mention shoes. At the pro-level, esports athletes are accomplishing amazing things with their feet on a keyboard.
As a guy who does a lot of gaming for work, my feet are usually poking out the end of Doctor Who pajama pants as they dangle off of the edge of my massive gaming throne. Sure, I put on slippers to walk around the house, but I wasn’t sure that my life, or my gaming, could be improved by a pair of sneakers.I’ve been wearing the One-Taps around the house and during intense gaming sessions for a week now, and I’m happy to report that I was wrong. The One-Tap is the perfect shoe for wandering around the house in a daze, making coffee, and killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: Youngblood.
As I already mentioned, the secret to my love of the shoes is that they aren’t sneakers, not really. They lace up on top, but that’s a lie; a superficial detail that makes the MIBR One-Taps look more respectable than they really are. Make no mistake: the One-Tap is a slipper designed to look like a sneaker.There’s no tongue, just a vast hole to slip your feet into; ameshed cavern that’ll let your dogs breath as you do the intense work of gaming. The laces are purely decorative, and once I flipped down the MIBR crest to turn the shoe into a slipper, I never wanted to flip it back.These shoes let me be lazy in style. They announce to the world that I’m the kind of person who can afford fancy sneakers—these run $125—but provide the comfort of a house shoe. And these are house shoes; besides gaming, they’re suitable for leisure and social flexing during a house party or at a gaming event. I would never run or work out in One-Taps, because they feel as if they’d come apart under any kind of stress.Against all odds, they look cool, too. They have the faux-futuristic look of an Alienware PC case, but somehow manage to come off as possessing the fugly-cool vibe of all the chunky high-fashion shoes currently on influencers’ feet.Before the One-Tap, when I needed to leave the house, I’d take off my house slippers and slide on a pair of restrictive and uncomfortable Converse All-Stars. No more! The One-Tap has freed me from the prison of normal-ass shoes. Now, I just flip the MIBR crest up, converting the slipper back to a sneaker.In an instant, I look like a man who wears pants all day long instead of just when he leaves the house. This is a lie, just like the MIBR One-Taps’ respectable veneer, which makes them the shoe that gamers deserve.