Balenciaga loves a good reference but its latest mix-up seems to be pure coincidence... or is it? The Parisian luxury label's plainly named Black Mold Slide Sandals ($350) are one of two rubber slip-ons it dropped this season (the other being a flip-flop), and they bear an uncanny resemblance to Givenchy's recent Marshmallow Sandal ($375). Unintentional? Probably. Similar? Definitely.

Now, it's worth mentioning that Balenciaga is owned by Kering and Givenchy by LVMH, so it's a safe bet that their footwear design teams aren't swapping ideas by the water cooler. It must be considered, however, that each brand's molded rubber sandal has more than a few similarities, which makes for an interesting case study in overlapping inspiration.

These luxurious slides draw from the same well as that of actual athletic brands like HOKA ONE ONE and Oofos that cranked out molded recovery sandals far before it became a semi-normcore trend.

Like those companies' offerings, both Balenciaga and Givenchy's shoes are crafted from cushy black rubber, though they boast some pretty striking shapes to distinguish themselves juuuust a bit.

The profile of Balenciaga's shoe reveals swirling pits and peaks above an anatomic outsole, while Givenchy's Marshmallow sits atop a beefy treaded platform with a more distinct footbed and forefoot vamp. From there, though, you can pick and choose similarities. For example, each of the shoes employs a thick branded heel, vamp cut-out, open toes, and somewhat sizable soles, making it easy enough for them to blend together if you squint a bit.

Clearly, the conclusion here isn't that these brands are merely imitating each other, given that their sandals debuted around essentially the same time.

Instead, there are two takeaways: even at luxury houses, it ain't easy always coming up with original shoe styles, and Givenchy's iteration is apparently worth $25 more because it's made in Italy.

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