Sneakers continue to reign supreme. But the question is, should they be worn pristine or faux distressed? Most would prefer the former but dirty sneakers could be a trend that might catch on.

From the success of Balenciaga’s chunky dad sneakers to Margiela’s Tabi Boots, it is undeniable that eccentric styles have captured the hearts of fashion enthusiasts. Many brands, having noticed these emerging trends, have jumped onto the bandwagon with their interpretations.

While there is a plethora of unconventional designs on the market, Gucci set tongues wagging when it debuted a distressed sneaker style in spring’19.

gucci dirty sneakers
Men’s Screener GG Sneaker

Inspired by the ’70s and named after a sporting term, the Screener was designed in a classic trainer construction with the house web stripe on the side, then artificially roughed up for an all-over distressed effect. Basically Gucci produced what was effectively a pair of dirty sneakers.

Just like the Triple S and Tabi Boots, Gucci’s Screener shoes polarised the masses with their implausible appeal. Fashion is all about subverting antiquated fashion rules but for this unique style, it is imperative to note that it carried a hefty price tag of over $1000 – prompting critics to ask, “Would you pay four figures for ‘dirty’ kicks?”

Wrapped For Freshness

For 2021, Nike has gone the other direction, focusing on the importance of keeping your shoes immaculate to the extreme with its new iteration of the Air Force 1. The upcoming pair, an experimental creation nicknamed “Keep ‘Em Fresh” – features an upper wrapped in an AF1-branded tissue paper.

Nike Air Force 1 Low Keep Em Fresh DJ4630-100

Despite its unorthodox look and gimmicky appeal, the crinkled paper has more functionality than meets the eye. While it elevates the overall unboxing experience, the paper also serves as a shield to preserve the pristine condition of the kicks — the smooth white leather with cream edges is unveiled as the paper is stripped away or removed.

Peel away….

The loss of this tessellated-print tissue may be heart-wrenching to diehard sneakerheads, but they would be relieved to know that print also appears on the insole. Ultimately, relative “cleanliness” is in the eye of the beholder.

written by.
Amos Chin
Fashion and beauty aficionado by day; idiosyncratic (I think) Spotify Playlist Curator by night. Knows a thing or two about tattoos.

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