Making waves with its latest product, and not for a good reason, Balenciaga is selling destroyed sneakers for as much as $1,850. The brand that brought us platform crocs, a Tesco carrier bag and pointy rain boots unveiled its new limited edition distressed kicks called the Paris Sneaker.
The luxury fashion house has stirred up publicity for the tattered new footwear by releasing a series of still-life images showing an exaggerated version of the shoe as part of its marketing campaign. In a press release, Balenciaga stated that the shoes’ ragged appearance suggests that they are “meant to be worn for a lifetime.”
According to the product listing, the most expensive pair in the collection is a $1,850 limited edition of women’s high-tops that have “destroyed cotton and rubber”, “rippings all over the fabric”, and dark streaks and marks dirtying the rubber soles. The Balenciaga branded graffiti along the side is the only way to separate them from a shoe run over by a lawnmower. The de-faced kicks are available in black and white, and the luxury brand claims it will only sell 100 pairs of these limited edition sneakers.
The collection also includes a pair of less-distressed high-tops available in red, black, and white for $625. Unlike the more expensive pair, these come without rips in the fabric and have less noticeable smudging on the soles, but they still have scuff marks. Rounding off the collection, Balenciaga also released a backless, mule version of the sneaker, available in red, white, and blue. The mules are the least expensive design from the Paris collection, costing $425.
Following the release of the photos online, users took to social media to publicly criticize and diss the product. “Balenciaga is now selling beat-up Converse for $1,850,” a Twitter user posted, while another commented, “Balenciaga is really charging people $1850 for the pair of torn-up converse that my ma begged me to throw out when I was in high school.” A third added, “Balenciaga has got to be running a social experiment to see who’s dumb enough to spend money on the ugliest s**t ever made.”
It’s not the first time Balenciaga has caused controversy because of its designs. In March, the fashion house released a £925 bag that held a striking resemblance to the blue and white striped plastic Tesco plastic bags of the past, and in 2021, the brand was accused of cultural appropriation by fashion and history experts over a pair of their £860 sweatpants.
The Paris Sneaker is now available online for pre-order.