Ever since the Triple S first dropped in 2017, Balenciaga hasn’t let go of its grip on status symbol sneakers. Chunky has been the defining feature throughout designer Demna Gvasalia’s reign, as the Track sneaker took the place of its three-soled predecessor as fashion’s it shoe. Now, it may be time for a new pair of kicks to wear the crown.
Balenciaga has launched its new succinctly named Runner, a fashionably clumsy sneaker first shown as part of the luxury house’s winter 2021 collection. The Runner is actually slightly less unwieldy than the Track sneaker that preceded it and nominally more believable for the act of running. It’s also well distressed, arriving as part of a collection that (correctly) anticipated a return to travel after the worst of the pandemic.
Dad shoes have been one of the defining sneaker trends for several years now, long enough that its recession seems right around the corner. But if Balenciaga has anything to say about it, the trend may just endure for a few more years.
The Runner looks like it already has some miles — Overlapping paneling on the mesh upper comes frayed and looking like it’s short a couple of pieces. On the all-white color scheme, one of three for the Runner’s launch, the intentional worn-in look is emphasized even further with scuffs and smudges coming before you’ve even taken a step.
The Runner also revamps a defining motif for the Triple S and Track, which both featured the shoe’s respective European size on its toe cap. That number is now printed with a graffiti-like effect, further imbuing the threadbare evolution of Balenciaga’s high-fashion running shoes. A paracord pull tab is another nice touch for the low-fi aesthetic — but it can’t hide the fact that we’re talking about a sneaker that costs more than $1,000.
Balenciaga’s Runner is now available in all-black or all-white — as well as a mix of red, white, black, and grey — in men’s and women’s sizes. Taking part in the third stage of Balenciaga’s sneaker dominance will set you back precisely $1,090, but you already knew it wouldn’t come cheap.