Some trends take a while to hold water. Over the past year or so, there has been a lot of praise and hand-rings about the aesthetic grip that water-adjacent, softcoat shoes যেমন such as Crocs, Vibram Five Fingers or Merrill Hydro Mock ধরে have taken over the footwear world. But for all the splashy titles, the legitimate fashion crossover of traditionally irresistible, strategic footwear in the mainstream has felt like a slow burn. Blurred water sandals sounded like a poppy daddy sneaker craze, but what about its non-sandal, non-sneaker siblings? Make way for a literal shoe slim, kiki silhouette, like the slip-ons you might be forced to wear to summer camp as a kid.
But here’s the thing. For adults, water shoes, when worn in or around water bodies, are practical. Water shoes, when not worn anywhere near the body of water, are bizarre.
So, it’s weird. In recent times, for example, amphibian footwear – which is what people in the industry seem to call it – is coming to us from all directions. At London Fashion Week, Emma Chopova and Laura Lovenna, the design pair behind the freaky-decky, folkloric brand Chopoya Lovenna, showed off their first expedition of men’s clothing, which was underlined by small water shoes in blue and pink. And while probably not really waterproof, the Canyon West and Adidas have a new Yezzy shape, the “KNIT RNR”, which the internet has compared to both Mickey Mouse’s mustard, absolute-unit shoes, and you guessed it, water shoes. (Interestingly enough, the predecessor of Knit Runner, Foam runner, Made partly from hydroponically produced algae.) And like any good microtrend of 2020, it is gender neutral; In a Sandy Liang presentation in New York earlier this month, models came down the runway in mini dresses and soft shell Solomon Snow Mox. Water: Sometimes it freezes!
Perhaps all of this can be found in the Balenciaga Apocalyptic Fall 2020 presentation, which proves that, if not, it seems as prophetic as it seemed then. On the first day of March 2020 in Paris, just before the coronavirus epidemic closed Europe, Demna Gavasalia sent rubber-clad, suspended-heeled five-toe shoes covered in water to the runway, its front row seats completely submerged. A few months later, West released the aforementioned Foam Runner, whose otherworldly, trifophobia-triggering silhouette quickly became so ubiquitous (and meme’d) that it’s surprising to remember that they were only released last summer. And of course, as the stars pass, you made the Balenciaga FW20 part of the official uniform of him and his estranged wife, Kim Kardashian West. Rod Era
But the question remains: who is actually wearing these? For all their Balenciaga love, neither Kim nor Kanye jumped into the frog-designed toe-designed toe shoes. (Naturally, Rihanna is seen in a heel version.) For all the trend pieces, when will we start seeing people wearing softshell water shoes in the mall? There’s something polarizing about its second skin construction পা foot flush, almost wiped out যা that points to a line of weakness. But there is a way to cool the most impossible thing a cany co-sign. Perhaps the tide is turning.