Balenciaga’s latest footwear offering comes by way of the “Runner”, a chunky, 90’s trainer-inspired sneaker made up of mesh and some aggressive panelling. While the brand found a foothold with the Triple S, will this pair be enough to garner attention from more than just the cynically critical fashion forward?
We’ve all seen this kind of sneaker before, on the shoe rack at home gathering dust as our dad hasn’t taken them out for a run in about a decade. The sneaker screams Kayano 5, or perhaps even more dated pairs from the ASICS offering, while managing to add a little bit of “WTF?” to the mix through what looks to be an unfinished sole unit, held together by oddly placed patches of glue (that is glue, right?) and “distressed” with the toe peeling away. At first glance, the Runner is subtle and somewhat wearable, at least more so than the Triple S, Track, and Sock Runner. I’d go so far to say that the sneaker is the best looking of any Balenciaga has created, but that isn’t to say it’s a good thing; to me it partly defeats the purpose of creating a sneaker for Balenciaga.
For the $1095 price tag I’d want to be getting weird looks, I’d want people asking me what they are, and why their sneakers don’t look like mine, but this pair is for those that want to wear their Balenciaga sneakers in the shadows, without people checking out their fit – do those people exist? There’s no doubt in my mind that if a sportswear brand designed and released these for sub-$100 they’d sell out and be an instant hit, I just wonder whether they’re a big enough statement or flex – recall the widespread, mainstream hysteria following the Triple S’ release – to make people justify forking out that much.
The Balenciaga Runner is exclusive to KITH stores and releases tomorrow, July 16, for $1095.