How far can we go in the world of sneakers? The colorways are blinding. We’ve seen hoards of dad shoe incarnations with their bloated, bulbous rubber soles. Remember those self-lacing kicks from Back to the Future? Well, those exist and are already on the market. And now there are fusion sneaker-heels. This past Paris Fashion Week, vegan footwear designer Mats Rombaut, the same person who has brought us the much-shared lettuce slides, introduced a metamorphosed high heel with an orthopedic sole in his collection “Dysmorphia.” The footwear was shown at a climate change protest-presentation at the Espace Niemeyer, the Communist Party’s Headquarters in Paris. (Governmental sessions seem to be the trend this season: see Balenciaga’s UN runway show). The models wore sporty, elastane sneaker soles with linear ’80s robotic grooves that were impaled with a thin metal stiletto heel. Some of the uppers had technical mesh or came in a romantic printed velvet that hit the calf.
The concept of fusion heel-sneakers has been popping up for a bit now. The Romanian-born, London-based designer Ancuta Sarca, who presented this London Fashion Week with the collective Fashion East, has struck viral gold with her blended Nike kitten heel creations. The colorful footwear in sporty shades of fuchsia, cherry reds, and lime green come with a Nike upper, its signature swoosh and white laces. They usually take form in a pointy toe mule, although sometimes it’s a slide. The design began as a personal project for Sarca who started creating them about a year ago. “I had too many old Nike trainers and heels at home that I didn’t wear anymore so I decided to transform them in such a way that I could wear them again,” writes Sarca. “I have started developing this idea since then by collecting old sneakers and heels that people don’t want to wear anymore and I am repurposing them and giving them a second life.” Now, the upcycled mish-mashes retail for $325.
Similarly to Sarca, Berlin-based design student All Amin has also been churning out these Franken-heels. (The designer also creates bustiers out of dismembered Nike shoes.) On her feed is the ultimate flatform made out of four stacked sneaker heels with the Nike tongue acting as the thong strap. A platform has a mushroom stem heel and a hefty body composed of sneaker material that seems fit for a Transformers cosplayer heading out for the night.
The slow merge between sport shoes and teetering heels might be thanks to the changing definition of what constitutes masculine and feminine dressing: Everyone wears what they want, whether it is a heel or a sneaker. “Sneakers always gave me a very masculine vibe for some reason so I liked the idea of feminizing them by moulding into the kitten heels,” says Sarca. Rombaut agrees with the philosophy. “As with clothes, certain shoe styles are very stereotypical for certain subcultures, or you associate them with certain people,” he writes. “Rombaut is for everyone, any gender, color, and shape so the hybrids are a perfect metaphor for this blending of genres.” Looks like it’s time to lace up those heels.