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COPENHAGEN, DENMARK - AUGUST 10: Thora Valdimars wearing MUF 10 and Balenciaga bag and Jeanette Madsen outside Baum Und Pferdgarten on August 10, 2017 in Copenhagen, Denmark. (Photo by Christian Vierig/Getty Images)
Christian Vierig/Getty Images
Balenciaga’s Speed Trainer, in the wild.
PUT A SOCK IN IT

How a $700 sock with a sole became the hottest sneaker in fashion

Marc Bain
Member exclusive by Marc Bain

In New York City and other fashion capitals, one unusual breed of shoe is turning up over and over: Sock sneakers.

Typically just a minimal, stretchy knit upper and a sole, sock sneakers originated with big athletic brands. But luxury labels have since eagerly taken up the thread, pushing the form to deliberately emphasize the resemblance to socks. In the normal course of fashion’s trend cycle, mass-market brands have begun copying them and producing their own versions too. They now exist in seemingly endless iterations across a variety of price points, and embody some of the big currents moving fashion today.

Right now the style is exemplified by Balenciaga’s Speed Trainers. The shoe is basically an elastic ankle sock, mounted to a sole. They cost $595 to $695, depending on the version, and are currently sold out in popular sizes on a number of sites.

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