WHAT ARE THOSE ?

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The blog title itself already hints what the post is about about lol, yes shoes. Although i feel this post is a bit late, i also feel like its the right time to put it out due to having observing the sneaker designs over the past months, 2017 into 2018. I personally feel like the sneaker world is a very complex place at this moment especially 2017 going into 2018. Sitting down and thinking about this led me to asking my self several questions. Some I answered and some I failed to understand and get an answer to. There are several changes happening at the moment and a huge shift in the design approach. I’ll be mentioning most of the questions I asked myself in this blog.

 In general, sneaker heads and those who love fashion know that Nike constantly re-releases its most demanded designs, remaking and retouching them and marketing them all over again. These designs that constantly resurface also happen to be the “grails” and most wanted Nike shoes, making them very popular each and every time they drop. For example the AirMax 97 and 98, all Jordan popular Jordan 1 drops such as the BANNED BRED and many others. Most of the “new” designs from Nike especially recently have been collaborative efforts with athletes, musicians such as Travis Scott and Skepta, helping them gain and reach out to more people. Or if not, they were a basic Nike sneaker priced for the availability to the average person wanting a pair of Nikes. As for Adidas, YEEZY has brought them into the spotlight and faces of hypebeasts and the sneakerhead community. Not that adidas wasn’t “popping” , but it just wasn’t as demanded as Nike. Except for some of their massive and limited drops such as the Ultraboost Triple Blacks and etc. This might be a biased opinion lol but I love both brands regardless.

 In regard to design, we have seen a clear trend and pattern around which almost every sneaker these days is designed according to. High fashion and Luxury fashion brands shoe design never really used to be similar to those shoes popular in the Streetwear world or those by Adidas and Nike. Most of the Luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton designed their sneakers from scratch presenting never seen before silhouttes, clearly inspired within LV and no where else. It was a rare case that a luxury brand such as Gucci would design something similar to a brand like Nike, for example Gucci releasing an AirMax 90 look alike lol. But these days it seems streetwear, sportswear and luxury fashion shoes are designed around one notion.

 Sneakers have moved to the “Dad shoe” type of design. Chunkier shoes, bulky and purposely looking old and “vintage”. The classic example which you probably have in mind is the Balenciaga Triple S.

The Balenciaga Triple S upto now, is one of my  favorite shoes that have been dropped in the past few years, well the first version. The RAF Simons Ozweegos are my all time favorite. And I’m sure it caught many peoples attention too. It’s one of the reasons I started following the sneaker designs being dropped recently. The very first thing that made me gain interest in the “Dad shoe” wave was the fashion icon, Ian Connor. He posed some pics wearing a pair of Sketchers. Yes Sketchers. Not any random pair, but the pair which goes along with that goes along with the “dad shoe” aesthetic. 

 Well, several people labeled the Balenciaga Triple S “ ugly “. If I’m being totally honest, yes the shoe is ugly, but the aesthetic is AMAZING. Lol yes I’m making sense ! It has a worn out, frequently worn type of aesthetic even in its brand new condition. The contrast in colors for each colorway make the shoe even more prominent and noticeable. Like the blue,red and yellow with the off white “dirty” looking sole. The size and bulkiness also make it hard to miss. And it seems most shoes are taking that direction in terms of design. The wave became most prominent when almost every celebrity was spotted in their pair of Balenciaga Triple S’s. However this stance in the sneaker world was a bit confusing, leading to me asking myself HOW? What do I mean how ? Light sneaker technology, portable and comfy designs were the main aspects of design just before the “Dad shoe” trend. Sneakers had stealthy silhouettes. For example Balenciaga itself with its “Speed Trainer”, Adidas’ “Ultra Boost” and “AirMax “ technology. So what caused the sudden shift in design preference and merging of the Streetwear, Sportswear and Luxury brand sneaker/shoe designs. Personally I think it’s basically a shift in aesthetic and a shift in design preference. In terms of clothing we have seen homeless looks, oversized clothing and a worn out clothing aesthetic.....this is just the same thing but applied to sneakers. This way brands could make a sneaker that goes well with their clothing. Fashion Icons and Instagram models have also proved how cozy they look with Streetwear looks. And I also think another important factor in the blooming of this wave are “influencers”. Ian Connor, Luka Sabbat, Bloody Osiris and the likes. Creating a demand and void in the sneaker market which brands have decided to fill. One of the reasons I stan RAF Simons and call him the god of fashion is because he is ahead of his time. Although the “Dad shoe” trend became very popular last year, RAF Simons released the Ozweego In 2013, before wearing such a bulky sneaker had become “acceptable” especially in luxury fashion. This is ofcourse excluding the Nike Monarch line by Jason Mayden. The shoes that was originally 'made for' dads before the whole trend.  Are you a fan of the direction sneaker design is taking ? Even Zara, which is infamous for imitation high fashion brand designs from clothes to socks to sneakers you name it, has jumped onto the same design too. This alone shows how big the design itself has become, because shops like Zara will imitate what’s hottest at the moment for quick cash. Hence meaning several people has already caught up on it too. The image below is an early sketch of the Nike Air Monarch II

 Asking myself that question lead to me asking myself whether moving in that direction is good for fashion and what it means for fashion as a whole. I think it has lead to design stagnation a lot of copying, “stealing” and biting of designs. Where do we draw the line between inspiration and copying? Surely all brands can’t be releasing stuff inspired by ONE type of aesthetic and silhouettes lol. I think almost every shoe design amongst the shoes of the moment literally looks very similar or flat out out the same with a few additions and modifications and the brand name stamped onto the sneaker. These sneakers especially form the luxury brands do not come cheap too. The most popular dad shoes are those from luxury brands meaning they come at hefty price tags leading to some sourcing for cheaper versions of the similar silhouettes.  A great example is the Nike Monarch, which comes at a very affordable price and large quantities, with the design originating back as 2002, it can arguably be called one of the bulky sneaker era pioneers. Being reworked from time to time by Nike ofcourse. I think it’s now a matter of choosing the shoe because it’s your favorite brand or colorway rather than choosing it because it’s better than the other sneakers. This can’t happen because like I said, most of them look the same. Which is a not so good thing. Design becomes stagnant meaning very few shoes based on a completely different silhouette will see the sneaker market. And also it leaves a very very thin line between inspiration and copying. When is it relevant to call out a brand for copying ? YEEZY was seen jumping onto the design with the YEEZY 700 and Desert Rat 500. Kanye West took a jab at Nike because of their ''Monarch'' line which seems to be specifically designed for dads. After Nike announced the dropping the reworked Monarch sneaker, the Nike M2K Tekno (Air Monarch) which is a much updated verison, Kanye was not having it, accusing them of copying the YEEZY 700 design, through a now deleted tweet.

In my opinion that was stupid considering the Nike Monarch comes way back than the YEEZY Adidas sneakers. But in terms of the few additions after being reworked and also the timing of reworking it, can Nike be called copycats of the YEEZY Waverunner 700 ? Ill leave that upto you to decide. 

One of my personal favorites and one of the releases i feel like the brand tried to actually add some of their own designs together with the whole chunky sneakers approach, is the Louis Vuitton Archlight Sneaker.

What intrigues me most is the futuristic vibe the shoe portrays. A shoe that i could safely say i would be proud if my kids in future would refer to as the shoe of my generation. The price tag is pretty hefty, making it an exclusive which is a plus if you have a couple of dollars to spend, it retailed at USD1090. Unlike the Nike Monarch rework which was to retail around USD135. The difference in price definetly means the Archlight might be a more suitable option for fashion snobs and hypebeasts whilst the Nike M2K Tekno is the option for those who would want to join in on the design but cannot afford luxury fashion. Gucci also dropped their Cruise 2018 Apollo leather sneakers.After looking at them and the YEEZY Desert Rat 500, i found them somehow similar, withe YEEZY looking like the better version. What do think?

 

Another shoe is the most recent Balenciaga FW18 Chunky-tech sneakers which heavily resemble Asics. Therefore choosing either of two now solely depends on brand preference than design preference.

Which leads me to my last question. Is this where the sneaker world is headed? Is that how sneaker and shoe culture is going to be? A continuous recycling of ideas and an industry whereby the variety provided is only be cause of the brand name and colorway and not a totally different design meaning the consumer is paying for the brand name than the actual shoe. I hope not. Or a futuristic tech like looking shoe design approach.  Do not feel pressurized to hop onto whatever wave is popping at that time. You might just drown. For example bulky shoes and dad shoes are not for everyone because they are not easy to style as a pair of vans lol. You might find yourself looking hideous whilst actually wearing the best shoe at the moment lol. This whole trend and approach has made people and fashion magazines such as HIGHSNOBIETY say statements such as ''Úgly is the new trend'' Which in the right context might be accurate. The controversial luxury brand Balenciaga also recently released platform crocs, a collab with Crocs.

Literally they are platform crocs with a few accessories added to them. Retailing a whooping USD800. Sites such as highsnobiety have even clowned some consumers and future consumers suggesting how hideous the shoe is. Despite the fact that it sold out in no time. 

I personally do not like them that much but i love the fact that they did something different and opposite of whats currently going on. However i strongly feel the fashion house is deviating from its original line of design as has been capitalizing on rather designs that may be ridiculed by the average fashion consumer. Besides the whole bulky,chunk, dad shoe designs, there has been other collections of sneakers that have dropped and are highly eye catching and worth every cent. Collections such as THE TEN by Nike and Virgil Abloh. Reconstruction of popular Nike designs. The Sean Wotherspoon Airmax 97, The Adidas x Pharrell Hu, The upcoming Travis Scott Jordan 4 and more. Here is a link to more alternatives of the ''dad shoe''. https://www.highsnobiety.com/p/balenciaga-triple-s-alternatives-buy/

The most recent or rather one of this years drops thats on my ''to buy'' list is the 2 Chainz x Versace.

These sneakers were unveiled at the Italians label's Fall/Winter 2018 runway show. The sneaker design took the typical bulky and chunky sneaker design just as i mentioned above. But i guess that is the wave that fashion houses are willing to ride and maximize on.

What do you think about where shoe design is headed, particularly sneakers? And when you are buying a pair of shoes, are you doing it for the design or brand name? If your answer is for the design, would you buy Asics instead of Balenciagas even if you had the cash? And what do you think about lighter sneaker technology and the regular sized and fitting designs such as the Balenciaga Speed racer and  FutureCraft 4D technology? Food for thought

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Last modified on Saturday, 26 May 2018 21:49

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