Some trends take some time to retain water. Over the past year, there has been a lot of praise and wringing of hands in terms of aesthetic grip that adjacent to the water, normal shoes-like Crocs,, Vibram FiveFingers, or Merrell Hydro Moc – has taken over the field of footwear. But for all the sprawling titles, the legitimate fashion crossover of traditionally unattractive, tactical shoes in the mainstream feels like a slow burn. The awkward water sandals felt like the madness of a puffy dad, but for his non-sandal, no sneakers? Make room for the slim, kicking silhouette of the literal water shoe, just like the ones you may have been forced to wear to summer camp as a child.
But here’s what happens. For adults, water shoes, when worn in or around a pool of water, are practical. Water shoes, when not worn near a pond, are bizarre.
So, it’s weird. As early as yesterday, amphibious shoes – like obviously those in the industry call it – it comes from all sides. At London Fashion Week, Emma Chopova and Laura Lowena, the designer duo behind the bizarrely deaf, folklore brand Chopova Lowena, showed off their first attack in menswear, highlighted by pairs of tight-fitting little water shoes in blue and pink. And while it’s probably not waterproof, Kanye West and Adidas introduced a new form of Yeezy, “KNIT RNR”, which the Internet has likened to both the bitter, absolutely single Mickey Mouse shoes and, as you might guess, the water shoes. (Interestingly, Knit Runner’s predecessor, foamer, is partially made from algae produced by algae.) And the like any good microtrend for 2020, this one is gender neutral; at Sandy Liang’s presentation in New York earlier this month, models landed on the track in mini dresses and softshell Salomon Snow Mocs. Its water sometimes freezes!
Perhaps all this can be traced to the apocalyptic presentation of Balenciaga in the autumn of 2020, which turned out to be as, if not more, prophetic as it looked at the time. Held on the first day of March 2020 in Paris, just before the coronavirus pandemic closed Europe, Demna Gvasalia sent a rubberized, hanging heel Five-toed shoes down the runway covered with water, the desired seats in the first row are completely immersed. A few months later, West released the aforementioned Foam Runner, whose alien, trypophobic silhouette quickly became so ubiquitous (and meme’d) that it’s shocking to remember that they were only released last summer. And of course, when the stars were about to intersect, you made the Balenciaga FW20 part of his – and his estranged wife, Kim Kardashian West – the official uniform for Donda era.
But the question remains: who actually wears them? For everyone their love for Balenciaga, neither Kim nor Kanye made the frog jump in a pair of toe shoes designed by Demna. (Rihanna, of course, has been noticed in current version.) For everyone trend piecesWhen will we start seeing people wearing softshell water shoes to the mall? There is something polarizing in its second-skin construction — so flat to the foot, almost modest — that crosses the line of vulnerability. But Kanye’s joint sign has a way of making the least likely things cool. Maybe the tides are reversing.