Love or loathe, Balenciaga has launched a new nasty shoe. And by ugly we mean the founders of one of the planet’s most prosperous luxury footwear layouts is hoping to replicate the hype and profits of its S sneaker, which launched in 2017, using a new, urgh, five-toe plastic sock.
This time around Balenciaga has partnered with Italian rubber sole producer Vibram, famous because of its FiveFinger version, in which the front part of the shoe is split by feet. Not to be confused with Margiela’s Tabi version. Designed for the outside, Rubber Shoes are conspicuously absent from fashion’s narrative, appealing instead into a market that thrives miles from the catwalk.
First revealed on the fall 2020-21 catwalk, the Balenciaga Toe set is gradually making its way onto societal channels and in stores. The Men’s Formal Shoes combines Vibram’s design using a 5-finger toe and recycled knit sock and, based upon the design, preformed square heel or suspended sole. The colour palette includes black and vivid shades of pink and red. Things which come with price , naturally, as the Vibram collab sells for 1,090 euros on its e-commerce site.
While the hype of the Triple S has deftly subsided, at its height it rode the crest of the Dad sneaker wave, with lots of buyers willing to pay more than twice the retail price for a pair of of it ultra chunky, comically large proportioned trainers. Not able to keep up with demand, Balenciaga moved its production out of Italy to China, producing a similar but not the exact same shoe, and like all tendencies, desire fizzled out.
A boom in revenue led Balenciaga to be Kering’s fastest growing luxury new in 2018, with millennials driving demand. In May of that year Kering stated Balenciaga had stellar earnings in the past two quarters, trumping Gucci’s 49 percent rise in earnings in the January to March period.