Balenciaga's $2,290 'destroyed' sneakers spark criticism: 'Is this a joke?'

·3-min read
According to the brand, Balenciaga's new sneaker features a
Balenciaga's new sneakers feature a "distressed canvas and rough edges, affecting a pre-worn look." (Photo via Balenciaga)

A new pair of sneakers by Balenciaga are raising eyebrows online.

On Monday, the Paris-based luxury fashion brand revealed their latest design, the Paris Sneaker, a limited release canvas sneaker for men and women.

While the sneakers are available in a variety of colourways starting at $795 CAD/$625 USD, a "full destroyed" version of the shoe is also available — with a hefty price tag of $2,290 CAD/ $1,850 USD.

According to the brand, the Paris sneaker is "a retooled classic design which interprets mid-century athleticism and timeless casual wear in black, white, or red, with a white rubber sole and toe with distressed canvas and rough edges, affecting a pre-worn look."

Balenciaga Limited Edition Paris High Top Sneaker Full Destroyed
Balenciaga Limited Edition Paris High Top Sneaker Full Destroyed

While the idea is certainly a creative one, many have taken to social media to criticize the brand for being "insensitive" and commodifying "poverty chic."

"This is honestly a slap in the face to those actually facing poverty. I don't know why high end brands want to utilize the 'poor aesthetic' so bad," one person wrote.

"I'm honestly so shocked. Is this a joke?" said another. "This feels really insensitive to those who can't afford much."

"It’s disgusting to contrive what is a homeless person's despair into high fashion. I guess the devil wears Prada but also Balenciaga?" added another.

Others were particularly shocked at the price tag, saying "it's a waste of money."

"I could find these in the garbage for free," wrote an Instagram user.

"Why on earth would I spend more than what I make in a week on a pair of roughed up shoes that wouldn't even fit me properly? I truly do not understand?" another person wrote.

"I could just pull out my old converse from high school and it would look the same," said another.

This is not the first time Balenciaga has made headlines for its bizarre fashions. In 2017, the brand released a $2,785 CAD/$2,145 USD shopping tote that looked strangely like Ikea's 99 cent bag, which prompted a reply from the Swedish furniture brand.

“We are deeply flattered that the Balenciaga tote bag resembles the Ikea iconic sustainable blue bag for 99 cents," the brand said in a statement. "Nothing beats the versatility of a great big blue bag!”

Back in 2018, the brand received attention for their $1,675 CAD/$1,290 USD "T-Shirt Shirt," a men's short sleeve crewneck with a long-sleeve button-up sewn on top of it.

Balenciaga described the garment as "striped short sleeves and long sleeves shirts with two wearing options."

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