Hybrid shoes are not new, but socks affixed to soles as sock-shoes are, perhaps, rather. Chanel’s summer shoe range features such footwear. They’re really clear-cut two-as-one: functional cotton-knit socks atop soles akin to those of court shoes (above, left). Chromatically, the cream and black colour combination is in the spirit of Coco Chanel, but visually, the fusion of foot gloves and shoe soles is more Victor Frankenstein!
But who really got there first: giving lazy feet a chance to wear shoes and socks at one go? It is not immoderate to assume that high fashion took a leaf off the pages of athletic wear, like they have before.
In February 2012, Nike introduced the Flyknit, a shoe upper technology that took four years to develop. The idea was to give runners a pair of shoes that fit like socks. The knitting, however, is not quite like those employed in socks—the construction process was engineered in such a way as to yield a seamless tubular upper that has a snug fit while respecting the contours of the feet. This proved to be such a compelling and practical idea that Adidas, too, shortly launched their version: the adiZero Primeknit. But unfortunate for the German brand, Nike was reported to have sued them in September of 2012 for “patent infringement” and applied for an interim injunction against Adidas’s said shoe with the District Court in Nuremberg.
The early versions of sneakers featuring this new material, the Nike Flyknit Racer, did not immediately look like socks sitting on soles. Not until the latest version, the Nike Free 3.0 Flyknit (above, right), that we really get to see the combination clearly, just as with the Chanel heeled interpretation. Regardless, both are really more sock than shoe. We can’t vouch for Chanel’s, but the Nike Free 3.0 Flyknit is an incredible piece of footwear: the fit is amazing, the comfort supreme, and once in them on the track, you can really fly.
The word sock, interestingly, came from old English socc, which means “light slipper”. The footwear reference makes sense since those leathers used in early times to wrap feet were really the most basic form of shoes. The one question that begs to be asked is, how does one wash these Chanel sock-shoes (with the Nikes, you can launder them in a washing machine)? It is reported that the feet produces close to 0.5 litres of perspiration a day. Surely, even the most dry-footed Chanel wearer would want to clean her socks once in a while! And if she does, will she risk missing a sock in the wash?
Chanel sock-shoe, SGD1,390, is available at Chanel boutiques. Nike Free.30 Flyknit, SGD259, is available at official stockists island wide