I hate to tell you, but we told you so! Our two-year-old phalangeal prophecy was right: Balenciaga has released a toe shoe. And now, five very defined piggies later, Balenciaga’s collaboration with Vibram (aka FiveFinger shoes) is officially shoppable available on your fave e-commerce platforms. While the world is probably more familiar with the flat version beloved by outdoorsy types for their grip, Balenciaga made the incarnation their own using a spring, which the house describes as a “heavy-duty suspension heel.” Each pair will come with a five-toe sock.
The Fall 2020 Balenciaga collection was a harbinger of the shoe. Ominous models in black sloshed through a puddle-strewn runway in the shoes. I wasn’t completely shocked: Ugly shoes are as old as Adam and Eve in fashion at this point. From Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen wearing Birkenstocks to bedazzled Crocs at Christopher Kane and Y/Project’s thigh-high Uggs, we’ve seen it all. Toe shoes seemed like the most natural ugly shoe progression for Balenciaga. The house has all but cornered the luxury market for such accessories thanks to their clunky Triple S sneakers or their more recent Tyrex Lows, which look like a melted plastic sarcophagus for the feet.
Ultimately, I appreciate the shock-jock appeal of Balenciaga’s shoes. But I wonder if these are truly wearable in a fashion way. Sure, I’ve seen some toe shoes in the wild, but mostly on people who look like they’re going to go run up a mountain. I don’t know if these have the same everyday appeal. Can you date with a fat bit of rubber caressing your big toe? Go to work? What do you even wear with them? I asked my market colleagues for advice. Market Editor Madeline Fass simply wrote on Slack, “You DON’T [wear them with anything],” She later rebuked that statement and wrote, “If you didn’t want them to be seen I’d suggest a ground-skimming wide leg pant, but perhaps they’d look best with black trousers and a big Balenciaga coat, hah.” My other colleague, fellow Market Editor Alexandra Gurvitch waxed a bit poetic (to be fair, I knew she’d love these). “Can we buy them and take a walk together?” It’s a date.