We made our own version of the $1,850 Balenciaga sneakers

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Photo: Maridelis Morales Rosado

Earlier this week, Balenciaga unveiled the latest iteration of its Paris Sneaker, a distressed pair of $1,850 shoes to the point of collapsing that had everyone asking, “Is this a joke?” Well, maybe it is. It wouldn’t be the first time this week that a brand released a product that left the world wondering if it was a publicity stunt.

The ad campaign shared on social media depicts very, very exaggerated versions of the shoes that Actually being for sale: 100 pairs of a limited-edition “Fully Destroyed” shoe, which are battered but not falling apart to the point of being unwearable. Some have compared the shoes to “Battered Converseand others to Superstar sneakers from Italian brand Golden Goose, which has its own history of fetishizing poverty with distressed $500 sneakers. For me, they remember my teenage years, when my dad angrily asked me why my new jeans had rips only to go on and on about how ridiculous it was for me to buy something that was already ruined. At the time, I didn’t understand his outrage, especially since the jeans were under $100, but now they are. A twitter user said it best: “Balenciaga should be a social experiment.”

So we decided to do our own experiment. Fashion Market Editor Roberto Johnson and I decided to Balenciagaify a pair of our own trainers and create our own version for way less than $1,850. Unsurprisingly, it wasn’t that hard to do. Here’s how:

First, we started with pre-worn Converse that were slightly faded and showed normal wear. (The shoes we used cost around $65.)

Then we used a cutter to make slits in the side of the shoes, similar to those of Balenciagas. After, we used sandpaper to rub them down and add the fringe that comes from a tear over time. We then rubbed yellow-ocher patina powder (a painstaking tool I learned about today) on the tears, giving the shoe a yellow color, and used a rubber eraser to add some layers of discoloration.

Photo: Maridelis Morales Rosado

For the base of the shoe, we smeared some Dirt Worx Schmere, better known as film dirt, but a bit of dirt from the sidewalk would also do the trick. I got a little carried away and got some on the canvas of the shoe, but it turned out fine. They are destroyed shoes, after all. In total, it took us about an hour to destroy these shoes, the tools we had to buy to do it were around $50, and I’d say we got close to a perfect result.

Turns out Balenciagaing your own shoes isn’t as difficult or as expensive as it seems.

Photos: Maridelis Morales Rosado.

Photos: Maridelis Morales Rosado.

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