Cole Haan and Slack have joined forces to create a sneaker that only the most insufferable of tech bros could love.
The Generation Zerøgrand, which gives Allbirds a run for its money in the most swagless sneaker segment, has been given a makeover as a love letter to the digital messaging platform for businesses. It'll be released in four colors, each of which is pulled from the Slack logo that Cole Haan has the gall to call "energetic and iconic." The very same logo appears on the sneaker's heal counter to offer consumers what has to be one of the strangest bits of branding to wear out into the world. If for whatever reason you're into that sort of thing, the shoe collection will be available starting October 7 on Cole Haan's site.
Why is this happening? — In a just world, these Slack-branded sneakers would only be given to enthusiastic salespeople for the messaging app that's taken over too many of our lives. Instead, it's being released to the masses as some sort of ode the "innovation" of both companies.
In a back story that'll only make you want to vomit more, the Slack Generation Zerøgrand was itself designed on Slack. A press release boasts this fact as if it's something to be proud of and not a sign that doing so may have shortcomings visible to anyone with a semblance of taste.
For Slack, innovation has come in the form of a platform that makes workers even more accessible to their peers and bosses and that further erodes the increasingly novel idea of a work-life balance. For Cole Haan, innovation has turned a once respectable footwear brand into a source of abominable sneaker-dress shoe hybrids that could only be loved by someone excited to pair their button-up with a pair of boot-cut jeans on Casual Friday.
Who is this for? — I cannot imagine a world in which my opinion of Slack rises from a necessary tool in my efforts to feed and house myself to something I love enough to wear enough on a sneaker. In fact, I can't imagine anyone outside of the Slack or Cole Haan offices feeling that way, but they're banking on the existence of such cretins with a release that begins today.
For $120, whoever buys this monstrosity will receive a sneaker intended not to offend with a dull knitted upper and an equally simple outsole with "luxe cushioning." The idea of celebrating Slack, however, is very much offensive to anyone other than the overlords who want to bleed every ounce of productivity out of us.
"Slack's innovative capabilities have proven to be a valuable tool and asset for our company," David Maddocks, president of Cole Haan, said in a release. "Our teams can communicate around the world as we continue to revolutionize performance lifestyle products that transition from work to workout to weekend — even if that's happening whoever you might be right now. In these unprecedented times we are both fortunate to be avid Slack users as well as a Slack friend and partner."
Only a president could say such things. The rest of us would say, "Yes, Slack is so useful" through gritted teeth as we eat a Chopt salad with Slack still open during our lunch break. Our only salvation in this hellscape is that we aren't being forced to wear the Slack Cole Haan shoes while doing it.