In some cases this pattern has been noted by the brands themselves, who have been quick to capitalize on the anomaly. In fact, you can now find shoes by Salomon stocked in trendsetting boutiques like Berlin’s SOTO or Paris’ The Broken Arm, proving how seriously some of the world’s top fashion buyers are treating the trend.For some, this embracing of items from the diametric opposite end of the cultural spectrum is laced with irony – after all, the cosmopolitan showboating of the inner-city fashion world could not be further removed from the rugged environment such footwear was originally designed for. However, for others it’s more about making a statement that kicks back against what fashion itself has become.
This sentiment was neatly summarized by millennial style enigma Ian Connor, who decided on a whim to start wearing Skechers, despite their decidedly “uncool,” mall-friendly reputation.Speaking to Complex back in 2015, Connor explained, “I was thinking about how everything I own is name brand. It’s not supposed to be about that. It’s about style. Everyone called the Raf [sneakers] ugly at first. They were all like, ‘Ew, what are those?’ But then when they saw that I was wearing them and that Rocky was wearing them, or Bar, then they weren’t ugly anymore. I thought about how people talk down on Skechers when they fucking look the same as Rafs. They’re so similar. They’re the same idea.”
This kind of “anything-goes” inclusive perspective has also taken hold in the work of high-end designers. In London especially, some of the most exciting names in menswear have started looking to niche shoe manufacturers for styles that strike an intentionally awkward appearance alongside their clothing. Recent examples include Martine Rose, who chose to work with Bates Footwear – a company that manufactures army, police and security boots –for her FW13 collection, and countercultural cult darlings Cottweiler, who used customized chemical protection footwear in their FW15 presentation and have a self-confessed love of the outrageously un-fashionable Rockport XCS boot.