MSCHF Sneakers, the footwear-minded sub-label of Brooklyn-based art collective MSCHF, doesn't always create sneakers. Sure, plenty of its most popular creations appear to have fairly conventional shapes at first blush but are taken to new heights by ingenious tooling.
But then there's the really wild stuff that pushes the boundaries of MSCHF Sneakers' entire oeuvre — if not the entirely definition of the word "sneakers — MSCHF's big, red Astro Boy-indebted boots are the latest and greatest example.
In the vein of MSCHF's provocative AC.1 walking boot, these cushy boots barely resembles what we may consider a "sneaker."
Instead, its bulbous silhouette looks more like the shoes worn by Osamu Tezuka's inimitable Astro Boy
Truly, you've never seen a pair of boots look like this ever before: MSCHF has created uncannily wearable kicks that look like Astro Boy's signature shoes brought into the real world.
"The Big Red boot is a realization of a specific sort of cartoonish abstraction of a shoe," MSCHF co-founder Daniel Greenberg tells Highsnobiety.
"In cartoon world, representation works with reduced information to immediately imply an object, rather literally depict it. The Big Red Boot works on a similar principle, where it is an absurd, simplified form that conveys the idea of “BOOT” without worrying too much about the particulars of realism."
For obvious legal reasons, though, MSCHF isn't mentioning anything related to Astro Boy when revealing its latest Sneakers creation.
The Astro Boy-inspired MSCHF shoes leaked online on February 6, over a week before they release on February 16 at 11 am EST via MSCHF's site and MSCHF Sneakers app for $350.
Pricey for gimmick boots, or so you may think.
"From a technical perspective, the BRB pushes the envelope of its single-mold-shell design, simply because it is really large," Greenberg says. "It’s shot in a much higher quality material and process than, say, a rain boot, or other thin-walled low-cost boots."
Much like previous MSCHF projects (we're talkin' WD-40 cologne, Tiffany participation trophies, and free-for-all ride sharing), MSCHF's big red boots are an immediate head-turner that rewards repeat glances.
Perhaps even more surprising than MSCHF Sneakers' new boot itself, though, is the response from even folks who have never bought MSCHF's footwear: everyone loves these things.
Not that they aren't cool, of course (they're ridiculously cool), but these boots are so visually arresting that even non-sneakerheads are paying attention. Talk about crossover success: maybe we'll see regular folks walking around in these giant, amorphic stompers.
Still, doesn't it seem a little weird for these to be part of the MSCHF Sneakers brand?
"We describe MSCHF Sneakers as MSCHF’s ongoing footwear experiment," Greenberg says.
"Part of what comes with the word experiment is chasing after concepts that are varied and dissimilar. Part of why the Super Normal [shoes] are interesting is that they can be this quotidian wearable sneaker, and part of why the AC.1 or BRB are interesting is because they are these challenging fashion objects. The core of our approach is not to compromise the concept of any individual shoe in service of some kind of predetermined overarching market/audience/function/niche."
But maybe the Big Red Boot isn't all that weird after all.
As Greenberg explains, "You never design shoes to be shaped like feet. Big Red Boots are REALLY not shaped like feet, but they are EXTREMELY shaped like boots."