Public Tokyo accomplishes its aim of bringing "JAPAN to the world" by infusing recognizable apparel with domestic craftsmanship with plenty of whimsy. Shirts are cut wide, and baggy pants boast pajama-like stripes, making it look like the wearer of both garments hit the road in their pajamas. Public's vast footwear selection is now expanding to include these two plastic flip-flops abetted with bubbly air soles, making for a quirky take on an emerging Japanese trend.
Gyosan, the decades-old brand that produces the sandals that Public uses as a base for this drop, advertises its wares on charmingly lo-fi English language websites promising that "the Big Wave of GYOSAN... is coming out of JAPAN!!!" These brands seem toreally want to expand internationally and if their other shoes were this nutty, we'd be happy to ride that big wave.
Public's design has its roots in a recent Japanese trend that has seen stylishly unstylish plastic sandals raking in newfound relevance. The go-to cheap basic for dads taking out the trash or grandmas rooting around in the garden, Japan's plastic sandals (sometimes shortened to "san," as in Gyo-San) have been reworked by the fashion-conscious creatives behind Marunaka High-End and Bench, giving the sturdy, slip-fighting sandal design a sleek makeover. Other companies are tweaking the traditional Setta sandal with air units in the sole, but nothing quite like what Public's up to.
Here, Public has smashed Gyosan's original "Pearl" sandal and a chunky air bubble sole together, creating a freakish hybrid that has one foot in the future and another in the past (no pun intended). There's an appeal inherent to this old/new juxtaposition (also see: Prada's Levitate derby), with the clunky plastic sandal fused with a high-tech visible air unit, and the wild leopard print version isn't any more understated. Sure, neither of these shoes really need air soles — any benefit to having a cushy outsole will likely be minimized by the tough plastic footbed — but these charming mash-ups have ample soul, which is far more important.
Both of the "AIR SOLE" sandals will be available on Public Tokyo's website later this month, with WorldShopping and other proxy services available for international shoppers.