Bio-Customized Sneakers by Rayfish


Rayfish bio-customised sneakers

A footwear company in Thailand says it has developed a way to bio-engineer stingray skin to produce customised trainers - although the claim has been met with scepticism from scientists and outrage from animal rights campaigners.

Rayfish bio-customised sneaker

Bangkok-based Rayfish announced last week that it had pioneered a process of "bio-customisation" that allowed customers to design patterns to be grown on genetically modified stingrays.

Rayfish bio-customised sneaker

Yet Utah State University biologist Randy Lewis told the Huffington Post: "To the best of my knowledge, there is no way to do what they claim both in terms of the colors, as many of those colors on their website have no way to be expressed in the skin, and the ability to completely control the pattern that they imply has not been achieved for any animal."

Rayfish bio-customised sneakers

David Edwards, a professor of Bioengineering at Harvard University bioengineering professor David Edwards told British news website MailOnline: "You're right to question the claims. One suspects they are playing with genetics, if they are doing anything at all, and claiming an understanding they don't possess. The ethics of this, not to say the legality, are other issues at least disturbing."

Rayfish bio-customised sneakers

The same MailOnline story quoted a spokesperson from animal rights charity PETA: 'The idea of breeding and killing neon-patterned stingrays sounds like something out of a horror film."

Rayfish bio-customised sneakers

Rayfish sneakers currently cost between $14,800 to $16,200 per pair "depending on your shoe size and the complexity of the desired pattern". However the company claims that the price will drop to around $1,800 once regular production starts later this year.

Rayfish bio-customised sneakers

The price includes "bio-customization of a pair of stingrays, growing your shoes to maturity, and shipping them to any address on the planet."

Rattlesnake-patterened stingray

Rayfish say their stingrays are humanely reared in aquaculture tanks, where they successfully reared their first bio-customised skin last year. Two rays are required for each pair of shoes in accordance with the company's "one fish, one shoe" principle.

Baby stingray pond

Here's the original press release from Rayfish:

Rayfish Footwear Grows Bio-Customized Sneakers

Transgenic stingray leather used to create uniquely personalized product.

BANGKOK – May 25, 2012

Thailand-based company Rayfish Footwear Inc. has pioneered the process of "bio-customization", a groundbreaking concept in personalized consumer products. Using coloration and patterning genes from existing animal species, engineers at Rayfish Footwear produce stingray leather with a near-infinite variety of naturally grown designs. Customers visiting the company’s website can design a pattern to be grown on a transgenic stingray, which will subsequently be transformed into one-of-a-kind stingray leather sneaker at the company’s Chon Buri facility.

Lab stingrays

With their unparalleled degree of customization – no two pairs are alike, even at a genetic level – these shoes should appeal to a diverse group of sneaker lovers. Incorporating stingray leather, one of the most durable kinds of leather, these shoes are ready for the street with hand-stitched details, thick laces, and sturdy soles. Rayfish Footwear combines modern genetic technologies with Thai craftsmanship.

Lab stingrays with giraffe pigment

From Rayfish Footwear CEO Raymond Ong: "I saw an opportunity for innovation while keeping true to my family’s long tradition of producing stingray leather goods. After a decade of developing this technology in cooperation with a team of bioengineers, I am proud to bring the world’s first bio-customized sneakers to the general public."

Breeding incubator

Currently, Rayfish sneakers are only available via the design contest running at the company’s website. Winning designers will receive their shoes once the rays have grown to maturity. General production will begin in late 2012 as the technology will be scaled up to commercial levels.

DNA remixing

Rayfish stingrays live in specially modified aquaculture tanks that mimic their natural environment. They are raised in a humane manner to ensure the most accurate, vibrant expression of their genetics. Rayfish Footwear opposes the harvesting of rays from the wild, and its committed to ocean conservation.

Rayfish offices

  • xtiaan

    This just looks like someones end of year project.
    If they could do this real fashion designers like Gaultier etc would be using it, not some nobody to make sneakers.

  • Sax

    If I ever see someone wearing those sneakers, I'll go out of my way to make sure they never wear them again.

  • if we can grow organs in petri dishes why would you bother breeding the whole stingray?

  • H-J

    What's the difference with wearing leather shoes made by killing cows or crocodiles? As long as we use animals as food and fashion I don't see what's immoral in using fish for fashion too. And by the way, the shoes look nice…

    • ken

      Right? Hot shoes to me as well… i'd wear them

  • toomuchcoffeeman

    it looks like a hoax to generate media attention.

  • J

    HJ do you you really believe that just because people continue to kill animals that it some how makes it ok and not immoral? So if murderers continue to kill innocent people then your theory means that this is also acceptable. Wake up people and stop acting like cavemen.

    • H-J

      When it's about some fish it is a scandal, what about all the other species out there? What about your hamburger, your leather belt, your shampoo or your medicine? It's hypocritical if you ask me to be outraged in this case and keep quiet in other cases…that's all. We either accept that we as humans use animals for our own good and pleasure or not, but let's just be consequent…

    • Okidoki

      Cavemen killed to survive… Not a good example :)

  • Mert

    For god’s sake…anyone with half a brain can look at the website and figure out that this is a total hoax, if not a bad scam. The ‘CEO’s fake TEDx-esque lecture hilarious.

  • Even if the price drops from $14,800 to $16,200 per pair to around $1,800 per pair … what an utterly VULGAR display of wealth.

    • xtiaan

      like being vulgar has ever stopped anyone before….

    • Greenish

      And a gas-guzzling car that pollutes the air more and more with every journey, that's not vulgar? A ring set with blood diamonds? This is nothing – relatively sane in fact, by 21st century standards.

  • Looks like these shoes suffered a bit of a sting by the media ;)

    *IF* these claims were partially true, then the steep price might mean they need to breed and sacrifice a shitload of rays in order to get just a couple of them half-resembling the customized pattern, which would be morally questionable, even if we're talking about lowly fish.

  • Adrian

    looks pretty photoshopped to me

    I would not be impressed if I saw someone wearing those shoes.

  • sbwiid

    say it isn't so!

  • kanda

    I think the front flap resembling a sting ray's shape just adds to the ridiculousness of it all, its kind of sinister and morbid.

  • Okidoki

    Looks like plastic shoes really, my feet get sweaty just by looking at them =D

  • DMJ

    Gorgeous patterns and texture, but I suspect the tech, which reeks of April 1.

    But… if there really is an animal connection, that's not good at all.

  • They look like s***t anyway. Maybe we should stick your feet in their as***les

  • iain

    im sorry but this is just wrong, and should not be allowed to happen. Althought people say that it is just like leather (something i do not wear or use) and i understand that it is very hard to avoid using any product that has any animal content in it but this just seems mindless and wasteful, this ,in my opinion, should be stopped and nt something that should be allowed to happen in this day and age.

  • Jamanthy Ward

    They just published some information on the scientific process. It seems pretty real after all. Anyone out there to check the feasibility of their explaination?

  • Alek

    I've been following this for the last few days (the possibilities of GM organisms has always been a passion of mine). While the company's tech seems very advanced, I don't think it's at all impossible in the context of current technologies.

  • Aren’t stingrays considered endangered?? wtf is wrong with this company? It’s one thing that we already use cow skin for our belts, shoes and jackets – but back off the endangered species. This is disgusting and sickening to me and I can’t do anything about it. SICK! Of course maybe Kanye West will find this company appealing. This generation is doomed we think of nothing but destruct nature.

  • Raj

    I want a Rayfish skin shop in Singapore.