For a fleeting but character-building moment last year, I wanted to own a pair of Balenciaga Triple S sneakers. You might have seen them: The paragon of 2018’s ugly dad sneaker trend, they are molded around the foot like a daycare–made Plasticine mountain. Some come with mesh and contrasting colorways, like this Frankenstein one. Others come pre-dirtied so you can pretend to look poor. Don’t be mistaken, though—these sneakers cost $895, or a little over one month’s rent for me (I live in Bushwick).
That didn’t stop many sneakerheads from hunting them down. New York Times reporter Jon Caramanica documented his eight-month odyssey to secure a pair when they were first released. Then, three months later, rapper Wiz Khalifa ended them with a tweet bemoaning their ubiquity. By October of last year, the Triple S was on life support. Luckily, I paid my rent. On time.
Thanks to these chonk sneakers, however, Balenciaga is nearing €1 billion (or $1.13 billion) in revenue. A lot of the brand’s recent financial success is owing to the Triple S. Now millennial men are some of Balenciaga’s most prized customers. But why do any sneakers cost a wallet-burning $895? Are gold flakes baked into the soles? Or are we just being hoodwinked by brands like Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton and Calvin Klein?
Tl;dr: How is this shit so expensive?