There’s nothing quite like getting nice, shiny, pristine new shoes — so why are so many brands selling sneakers that look filthy and worn in right out of the box?
This week, social media users are up in arms over
The athletic shoes come with a ‘vintage, distressed effect’ that makes them appear old, worn, and dirty — and all that comes with a staggering $870 price tag.
Gucci is selling its ‘Screener’ leather sneakers as part of its Cruise 2019 collection
They come in several different color options and cost $870 a pair
The brand describes the discolored leather as having a ‘vintage, distressed effect’
The incredibly pricey shoes look far from brand new in images on Gucci’s website, though that’s how they intend it.
‘A pastiche of different influences that span across decades, the Cruise 2019 collection references old school shapes and materials inspired by vintage sportswear,’ reads the brand’s description.
‘Influenced by classic trainers from the ’70s, the Screener sneakers — named for the defensive sports move — feature the Web stripe on the side and vintage Gucci logo, treated for an allover distressed effect.’
In a further description, the brand says that the browning, discolored leather has a ‘vintage, distressed effect’.
Unsurprisingly, some social media users are horrified that old, worn-looking shoes are considered trendy, and that the design house would charge nearly $1,000 for them.
‘The Cruise 2019 collection references old school shapes and materials inspired by vintage sportswear,’ reads the description
The sneakers are ‘influenced by classic trainers from the ’70s’
Each pair not only appears to have old, worn-in leather, but stains on the fabric
Despite the old look, none of the shoes are worn or actually vintage
‘I can sell you some dirty size 11.5 sneakers for 1/3 this cost,’ quipped one.
‘Look, if you want to pay that much for something dirty, why not just rent me for a few days? I promise you you’ll definitely get more bang for your buck,’ tweeted another.
Some saw the existence of the shoes, which come in a few colors, as less funny and more upsetting.
‘Soooo. Looking Poor is in Fashion. Since when did my lack of funds become Fashionable? I swear, If I see someone wearing @gucci distressed sneakers, I’m shooting you in the foot or cutting your feet off,’ one complained.
And another: ‘For those of you that want those go find a homeless person and give them $870 for their shoes. At least you will be helping someone…how ridiculous to buy shoes like that.’
Though the footwear has been raising eyebrows, Gucci is certainly not the first designer brand to sell intentionally ‘distressed’ sneakers.
Gross: Unsurprisingly, some social media users are horrified that old, worn-looking shoes are considered trendy
Money money money: Many find the huge price tag outrageous and ‘ridiculous’
Insensitive: Some have accused Gucci of treating poverty as a fashion choice
Wrote one: ‘Look, if you want to pay that much for something dirty, why not just rent me for a few days? I promise you you’ll definitely get more bang for your buck’
Last fall, the luxury fashion brand Golden Goose debuted a pair of $530 sneakers made to look like they were held together with tape.
The sneakers were intentionally designed to look as if they were so distressed the owner was forced to tape them to keep them from falling apart.
Many people were shocked by the design, with some charging that it glamorizes poverty.
One person called the shoes ‘another piece of fashion that looks like something I was made fun of for having to do’, adding: ‘Must be nice, thinking being poor is fashionable…’
‘WTF this is unbelievable, this is poking fun at low-income families and the homeless people,’ another Twitter user wrote. ‘Do these idiots know what it’s like to be living in poverty. I can just imagine who would get this.’
On Nordstrom’s website, the shoe’s description made mention of ‘crumply, hold-it-together tape’ that ‘details a distressed leather sneaker in a retro low profile with a
Backlash: Last year, Italian brand Golden Goose designed shoes that looked like they were held together with tape
‘Insensitive’: Many people were shocked by what they saw as an attempt to turn poverty into a fashion statement
‘Retro’: On Nordstrom’s website, the shoe’s description made mention of ‘crumply, hold-it-together tape’ that ‘details a distressed leather sneaker in a retro low profile’
Speaking out: Twitter users protested against the design, including one person who wrote: ‘Must be nice, thinking being poor is fashionable…’
Can’t believe it: Several people charged that the design glamorizes poverty
Conversation: One Twitter user confronted Nordstrom, bashing the retailer for carrying the ‘awful’ and ‘insensitive’ design
That description added fuel to the fire for one Twitter user, who wrote: ‘Just saw the taped sneakers that are trending and apparently poverty is considered “retro” now.’
Yet another Twitter user confronted Nordstrom on the platform, writing: ‘So, @Nordstrom thought what folks HAD to do because they didn’t have any money, should be exploited for $500+??? This is awful. Insensitive. Who’s in the room when you design these? Who’s in the room when pitching marketing ideas??’
Nordstrom responded, invoking ‘subjective tastes’ to justify its decision to carry the taped-up sneakers.
‘We appreciate your feedback,’ the retailer wrote back. ‘We’re always looking to bring in new, different, and unique products. We realize taste is subjective and not every customer will like every product we carry. Rest assured your comments were shared with our teams. Thank you.’
The Twitter user, however, replied: ‘This isn’t about taste. It’s about not recognizing that a store, for which I have a card, doesn’t get that poverty isn’t fashionable.
‘I grew up ridiculously poor & could not afford the “finer” things. That my embarrassment & struggle is being marketed disgusts me.’
There’s more! Other brands have also charged hundreds of dollars for pre-distressed footwear and received similarly mixed reaction
Balenciaga began selling versions of its Triple S sneakers with a pre-distressed look, and they still offer several different shoes that appear to be covered with dirt and other signs of aging
In 2018, Maison Martin Margiela started selling pre-distressed sneakers for $1,425; they also serve other distressed styles
These Maison Margiela shoes cost a whopping $650 and appear to be scuffed and dirty
The description for these $685 shoes reads: ‘MM6 Maison Margiela’s white leather trainers are given a distressed finish that reflects the off-kilter, rebellious nature of the label’
Despite the outcry and unconventional design, the shoes sold out on Nordstrom.com at the time.
Back in 2016, Golden Goose launched a similar model of tape-up sneakers, this time in a shade of pink. The brand attracted backlash then, too, with some accusing Golden Goose of ‘poverty appropriation.’
Other brands have also charged hundreds of dollars for pre-distressed footwear and received similarly mixed reaction.
In 2017, Balenciaga began selling versions of its Triple S sneakers with a pre-distressed look, and they still offer several different shoes that appear to be covered with dirt and other signs of aging.
Also in 2018, Maison Martin Margiela started selling pre-distressed sneakers for $1,425.
They, too, have other worn-in styles: Among them are a pair of $740 ‘sock sneakers’ that look like they are covered in dirt, $685 strained and stuffed white leather sneakers, and $650 White Artisanal Sneakers with ‘smudging and exposed foam padding throughout’.