Balenciaga Zen: The death of ugly dad shoes
Balenciaga is a luxury fashion mogul, known to establish many trends the past decade and most importantly, the trend of chunky ‘dad’ sneakers, headed by the Triple-S trainers. A trend that defined the streetwear rave, and is known to be the face of the latter half of the 2010s is about to be dethroned, or so Balenciaga states. The collection entitled, ‘BALENCIAGA ZEN’ features lightweight, leather-free trainers with an athletic minimalist silhouette reminiscing styles from golf, basketball, bowling, or tennis shoes. The new decade might just be a new era for shoes, leaving behind the Fila Disruptors and breaking out the good old hockey shoes.
The ugly dad sneakers have been infiltrating the fashion industry way before Balenciaga and it’s Track.2 trainers, going back to 2013 with Raf Simons x Adidas XXL Ozweego, although Skechers has been churning out ugly sneakers for all it’s existence - 26 years now. The past 5 years have seen these quite despicable but lovable shoes being adopted and cult-popularised by meme culture, sheer aesthetic, and millennials, leading to brands charging $975 (around 69,012 rupees) for a pair of shoes.
This trend could have been a phase for most of us, as we see brands tapping into the sportswear market, estimated to reach 208 billion U.S. dollars by 2025. The new ZEN collection bears a resemblance to Puma’s Mostro Perf leather, and has been designed for the Balenciaga SS20 collection. They are said to embrace athletic tech and is inspired by athletes, most notably martial artists and footballers. It will feature a subtle shape, hidden laces, smooth edges, and will be available in monochrome and a variety of classic colour combinations. It is said to be priced at $550 (38,923 rupees).
With Raf Simons, the father of the chunky shoes, said to be releasing a fresh silhouette in Paris for its AW20 collection, entitled (RUNNER) which also showcases an athletic look using leather and suede. More luxury brands are expected follow Balenciaga’s lead. On Instagram the shoes were described as, “an investigation of form and function and an exploration of shape, (where) the typical silhouettes of sports sneakers and re-proposed.”
Let’s see how the TikTok generation, as they take over the consumer market, will define fashion, and whether this new trend for shoes will last.