WORDS BY NATALIE YIASSOUMI
The new chunky dad sneaker, as modelled by Bieber, made its debut on Instagram and has already gone viral.
Justin Beiber introduced Balenciaga’s new Runner sneakers, in a series of Instagram posts. Images courtesy of Balenciaga.
Balenciaga has a new hit sneaker – and this might be its most popular style yet.
The brand has just dropped the Runner, a chunky dad sneaker that has the same retro flair as previous hit styles like the Triple S, the X-Pander, or the Track.
But this one takes the vintage aesthetic up a notch, with an undeniable Asics reference, the Runner comes with an array of interesting details that create a really distinctive, worn-out effect. For instance, the toe box and sole are intentionally discoloured, the rope laces have a distressed effect, while the shoe size is written on the toe and looks as if it’s been drawn on the shoe with a marker. You’ll also find many versions of the brand’s logo embroidered on across the shoe, but all branding is small and subtle, meaning that this is not an instantly-recognisable, logo-heavy style.
Creative director Demna Gvasalia’s aim was to play with elements of running sneakers and create a DIY feel, hence the many raw cuts and stitches. The layered soles of the shoes was even designed to look like it’s been glued together, with ‘fake glue’ protruding from the shoes’ panels.
This is also a leather-free shoe, made of nylon and mesh. It comes in all-black, all-white and there’s also a colorblock version – probably the most popular one – featuring a gray, white, and red palette. It costs 785 pounds.
The first drop of Balenciaga’s Runner sneakers also included one coloured black and white styles. Images courtesy of Balenciaga.
The shoe dropped with very little fanfare. There was no fancy event or heavy promotion, the brand just shared a series of images of its new fall campaign on Instagram (which has been wiped out of all previous content), with Justin Bieber modelling the sneakers, alongside logo socks, black track pants and an oversized leather jacket.
Yet Bieber’s stardom and the excitement around the new sneaker style were enough to turn the campaign viral: The image of the pop star was shared countless times and the Runner instantly turned into one of the most high-demand shoes in the market.
Building on the momentum, Balenciaga has chosen not to make the sneakers readily accessible for the moment. A limited 650 pairs were initially launched across Kith stores and now a bigger batch has just become available but remains exclusive to the brand’s websites and own stores.
If demand stays strong, it’s only a matter of time until the Runner launches more widely, both online and across all major retailers. Can it stand the test of time and surpass the popularity of the now-legendary Triple S? Eagle-eyed Balenciaga fans have noticed that the Runner was heavily featured (in numerous colour ways) on the SS22 Runway, so we take that as a yes.
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