Balenciaga’s newest sneaker release looks like your oldest pair of sneakers. The Paris-based luxury brand launched their latest design, the Paris Sneaker, to a wave of criticism.
This shoe isn’t your ordinary limited release canvas sneaker, but a destroyed version of it. The shoe comes in lace-up styles, either high-top or backless mule. Despite the worn-in design, Balenciaga is asking for $625 for their base model and up to $1,850 for the fully destroyed version.
According to the brand, the Paris Sneaker is “a retooled classic design interprets mid-century athleticism and timeless casual wear in black, white, or red, with a white rubber sole and toe. It is finished with distressed canvas and rough edges, affecting a pre-worn look.”
Balenciaga, clearly trying to capitalize on “poverty chic,” produced the striking campaign for the shoes using still-life portraits by Leopold Duchemin, suggesting that the “Paris Sneakers are meant to be worn for a lifetime.”
Many people voiced their concerns online about the shoes. One user commented: “This is honestly a slap in the face to those actually facing poverty. I don’t know why high-end brands want to utilize the ‘poor aesthetic’ so bad.”
Another wrote: “I could find these in the garbage for free.”
The brand also sites that the extra destroyed sneakers are a part of a limited edition run where only 100 pairs were mangled. Is that really worth the extra price?