The new “Triple S” sneakers are a chunky, bulky, overdone take on a dad sneaker and right now, that makes them the hottest ones in the game.
Demna Gvasalia has transformed Balenciaga from the military-meets-athleisure vibe it became known for under Alexander Wang (and as a purveyor of inoffensive menswear staples for stringbean-built guys before that) to one fashion label that’s elevated normcore—and every “-core” that’s come after it to luxury levels. Like Gvasalia’s own brand Vetements, Balenciaga now traffics in the pieces that look like classic staples of men’s closets—jeans, hoodies, jean jackets, suits, and baseball caps—with a subversive twist in their off-kilter silhouettes and bold branding. He’s made oversized jean jackets, cropped suit jackets, Bernie Sanders-inspired logos and Ikea-inspired tote bags all desirable pieces in today’s market place. But to date, there is perhaps no better example of Gvasalia’s “ugly is actually pretty” vibe than the brand’s new “Triple S” sneakers, which after months of anticipation will finally land in Balenciaga stores on September 21.
When these not-quite-hiking, not-quite-running kicks hit the runway back in January, most viewers didn’t know what to make of them. Ugly sneakers have been trending all year, but the “Triple S” sneakers take that concept to the extreme. Their upper looks like the kind of running sneakers a man in his later years would wear for maximum arch support, and their hiking-inspired laces would be more at home on a pair of all-weather boots. Their soles, easily the kicks’ wildest design feature, are like rubber layer cakes that create a platform at the heel that’s a good two inches tall, and extends at least and inch away from the pull tab you’d use to actually pull yourself into these mountain-like shoes. It’s jarring at first, but judged on their own merits—considering the front half the kicks are also massive and overwrought on purpose—the extended back is necessary counter-balance of design.
They don’t just look chunky in photos, either. If you’re a guy who already wears shoes on the bigger side, expect the “Triple S” sneakers to look like a pair of toy trucks on your feet. What that means in practical terms is that wearing ultra-skinny anything with the oversized Triple S sneakers might look off—and not in a “Demna made it cool” type of way. It would make you like you’re simply wearing shoes that are way too big. Instead, reach for a more on-trend pair of wide-leg trousers, which can, at the very least, cover up a decent portion of these sneakers and make them not quite so aggressive. Then again, if you’re dropping eight hundo on some intentionally ugly (and by the way, pre-dirty) sneakers, why not give them the shine they deserve?
$795, available September 21 at Balenciaga