Brand: th products x GROUNDS

Model: 02

Release Date: October 1

Price: ¥42,900 (about $383)

Buy: Nubian, GR8, Nighthawks

Editor's Notes: We see a lot of weirdo footwear here at Highsnobiety, from Kanye's footwear experiments to high-fashion freakiness and everything in between. th products & GROUNDS' collaborative shoe is a particularly odd one, though, because it's both incredibly familiar and unlike anything else out there.

Let's back up before we move forward, though. GROUNDS, formally known as GIDDY UP, is an experimental footwear imprint operated by Japanese designer Mikio Sakabe.

Sakabe, who also operates his wacky eponymous fashion line, has steered GROUNDS' bulbous air-soled sneakers into reasonably quick success, as evidenced by a recent a Walter Van Beirendonck collab.

th products, meanwhile, is designer Taro Horiuchi's rebirthed brand, centered on men's and womenswear that's practical, simple, and maybe even a little plain. That's fine by Horiuchi, who's almost more interested in clothing as utility than statement.

Seems like unlikely bedfellows to me but, hey, so did Fendace.

th products x GROUNDS have come together on the simply-named "02," which actually does feel like a middle ground in between each designers' wheelhouse.

On one hand, there's a sober moc-toed mid-top in beige or brown suede, complete with leather laces and sockliner.

On the other, GROUNDS has set this sufficiently sophisticated shoe atop its signature "Jewelry" sole unit, creating an ultra-cushioned hybrid shape that's equal-parts trad and tech.

The resulting "02" is a little Cole Haan, a little Prada, a little VaporMax, a little Wallabee, not really leaning too far into any one camp and ending up feeling more than a little uncanny valley.

Given that GROUNDS has made some very out-there designs in the past, this collaborative shoe seems like a purposely pulled punch. All the better, because the resulting design is a tantalizing blend of borderline unwearability and reasonable approachability.

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