Last year I catalogued the strangest garments I have come across in 2019: seven large, strange garments that stand out among the many, many fashion items I have come across in the past 365 days. (I still wonder who would buy Moschino baseball caps with a baseball head).
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2020 has become another beast. I’ve been working at my kitchen table for nine months. In the meantime, many characteristics of the fashion industry have disappeared. Catwalks where new collections can be seen face to face are now rare and the red carpet events with unusual celebrity outfits have largely disappeared. Anyway, I had much less chance to inspect the new clothes, whether they were weird or not.
However, one facet of the industry seemed to continue as if nothing had happened: the incessant changing of the sneakers. For years, shoe brands touted and sold Instagram through online stores or phone applications, a digital distribution system that already seemed to be designed for a socially disconnected America. And so, all year round, while we all did our shopping at home, brands like Prada,
and Vance has come up with an incredible amount of new sneakers.
Many of these sneakers are unusually eccentric, featuring design elements such as fake fur, darker colours than the Lucky Charms shell and twisted soles that would fit in a RoboCop case. Many of these flashy shoes have nevertheless become collector’s items, putting thousands of dollars (or at least ten times their sticker price) on the resale market.
The sneaker harvest of 2020 has further strengthened my theory that sneaker design is getting crazier and crazier to stand out on small mobile screens. The sneakers I remember this year are the ones that made me stop my foolish scrolling and thinking: What’s going on here? Here are seven candidates for the strangest of them all.
1. Ben & Jerry’s x Nike SB Dunk Low Chunky Dunky
This maximalist mash-up from Nike, together with Ben & Jerry’s delicious ice cream suppliers, has launched another form of brain freeze. Yet in all its pseudo-cow and melting glory it has become one of the most collected shoes of the year.
The highest resale price on StockX : $1,990
2. Grateful Dead x Nike SB Dunk Low Grateful Dead Bears
It was a memorable year for the Grateful Dead’s crazy shoes, the craziest of which were these fuzzy skate shoes made in collaboration with Nike. Inspired by the mascots of the dancing bears in the group, these hairy shoes are sold out within hours of their release.
Highest resale price on StockX: $2,115 per green. 3,000 for yellow. 4,600 for Orange.
3. House of Margiela x Rebekka Tabi Instapump Fury Lo
I found these dominant spicy shoes distracting. And then I noticed that the finger box was cracked. Whoever designed it has to work for NASA.
Selling price : $1,150
4. Balenciaga Sock
Reebok and Margiela’s toe insulation is very thin compared to Balenciaga socks, which isolate all five toes. The orthopaedic swing taped to your back makes your heels and eyebrows rise for everyone you see with it.
Selling price : $1,290
5. Adidas Stan Smith Mule Slide
In a year in which many of us depended on flip-flops, Adidas offered a backless mule that no one wanted. It’s hard to imagine how you can relax in something that’s still in hard rubber shoes. And it looks like your dog took a big bite out of your shoe.
Selling price : $70
6. Nike Air Max 720 ISPA Silver metal
This is the worst case of chicken pox I’ve ever seen.
The highest resale price on StockX : $320
7. KFC x Crocs Classic Clog
A crocodile is a crocodile? In the context of this list, I’d say: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Covered with a delightful image of endless chicken wings, each of these hooves is decorated with a Jibbitz fried chicken for extra bird-inspired dots. When I wentogled this shoe, one of the questions that came up was: do KFC crocodiles smell like chicken? I’ll leave it to you to find a solution.
The highest resale price on StockX : $299
The Wall Street Journal is not paid for by retailers who appear in its articles as selling merchandise. The shops mentioned are often not the only ones.
Email Jacob Gallagher to [email protected]
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