Balenciaga's latest anti-fashion statement comes via a new limited-edition collection of shoes made in collaboration with Vibram, an Italian sole and shoemaker company known for its toe-separating styles. The Balenciaga Toe collection consists of two distinct sneakers and a high heeled option, which first debuted on the Fall/Winter 2020 runway.
Each shoe separates the five toes and is made from a recycled knit and a Vibram rubber sole. The Balenciaga Toe Lace Up sneaker uses a suspension heel and, unlike a traditional high heel, features a square platform underneath a short heel, while the Balenciaga Heeled Toe relies on a molded black heel. Each item is stamped with Vibram and Balenciaga logos on each toe and is stamped with a number that marks its place in the limited-edition series.
The collection pays homage to the heritage of both brands. Vibram, primarily a sportswear brand and rubber manufacturer, is best known for its FiveFingers shoe, a minimalist favorite of trail runners and mountain climbers that separates each toe. By isolating each digit, the shoe mimics natural barefoot running and climbing.
Just as Vibram has been experimenting with new silhouettes in the name of technical achievement, Balenciaga has done the same in the fashion industry. Ever since Creative Designer Demna Gvasalia took the reins in 2015, Balenciaga has been a leader in the ugly-chic trend, creating flexible sock-like shoes, and shoes with splits in between the big toe and other four digits. Other luxury labels like Givenchy have joined the ranks, recently debuting a three-toed shoe design for Spring/Summer 2021. For Balenciaga, these creative shoe designs pay homage to the work of house founder Cristóbal Balenciaga, who was known for his innovative structuralist garments. Plus, Balenciaga Toe is not even the fashion house’s only recent rubber shoe collaboration. In Spring/Summer 2018, the brand released a platform take on Crocs.
The limited-edition Balenciaga Toe collection will be available on Balenciaga.com and in certain stores starting October 16.