If you were concerned that it’s been quiet on the ugly shoe front, Balenciaga is here to shake things up. As they do. The label debuted a collaboration with the Italian brand Vibram on its fall-winter runway back in February, but they’re finally hitting the market today to fulfill your toe-separation anxiety: introducing Balenciaga’s new toe shoes.
Under the reign of designer Demna Gvasalia, Balenciaga has run the gamut on delivering fringe footwear styles. The French design house practically kickstarted the dad shoe trend in 2017 with their now-iconic Triple S sneakers, and since then has released high fashion hikers, and a cycling shoe that wouldn’t look unnatural on a Peloton. But it begs the question: how far is too far?
The toe sneaker just might be the final frontier of forbidden footwear. Vibram is an innovative rubber sole label that introduced the world to its infamous Fivefingers toe shoes back in 2004. The style features five individual toe “pockets”—feel free to squirm—intended to replicate the feeling of walking barefoot. Vibram lent its flexible soles to three new Balenciaga styles, all made of recycled knit. There’s a lace-up sneaker with a suspended heel not unlike moon bounce shoes, a wearable sock boot where “wearable” is in the phalange of the beholder, and a bootie, because your newfound, Herculean toe grip is now strong enough to support a three-inch heel.
We regard Birkenstocks with the same love as we would our own children and Crocs have become a quarantine icon (which Balenciaga also took for a platform turn in 2019), so perhaps this pairing is just what our chaotic world needs to normalize toe individuality. If you’re in on the joke and the thought of fabric touching the webbing between each toes doesn’t give you the heebie jeebies, you can get your own pair of Balenciaga and Vibram shoes today for a cool $1,290 at Balenciaga.com and farfetch.com.
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