Is this what happens when you apply couture sensibility to sneakers?
By Ray Zhang
It is hard to find exceptionally new forms in sneakers put out by fashion houses. Of course, there are Louis Vuitton’s Archlight and Balenciaga’s Triple S, but I think they are rather uncommon. Many luxury brands are happy to just base their kicks on what sports brands have been doing forever—just look at the astonishingly persistent lazy replication of Adidas’s Stan Smith or Superstar. I guess some sneaker styles are so repeated that they have become a classic, just like the five-pocket, straight-leg denim jeans—any brand can have their own. Innovation be damned.
Dior for men under the watch of Kim Jones has released the B24 Runtek. The blue/black/white colour story here caught my eye recently for not trying to be the next over-the-top shoe with humility issues. I like that the ripstop upper is not overly complex or excessively panelled. There is the black ribbon that zig-zags the middle, and appears to secure the lace guard. Another strip (with branding), emerging from the toe cap, stretches parallel to the midsole and wraps the heel like a handle (before continuing the other side), just above the heel clip. Is this the couture touch that Mr Jones talked about in his men’s wear?
To be sure, B24 Runtek looks like an amalgamation of all the sneakers you’ve loved before; the best bits in a new whole. To me, there’s a strong whiff of the Karhu Fusion 2. Or should that be the Nike Air Max Triax? Or maybe the New Balance MS850 Tre? Well, you know what I mean. But at least it isn’t the Converse wannabe: Mr Jones’s first for Dior, the B23 High-Top and Low-Top.
Still, the shape of the B24 Runtek feels rather new to me. Or perhaps it’s because it doesn’t try to be a father figure. When worn it has enough bulk without looking like it’s trying to outdo Shoes 53045’s and yet it feels slender enough without seeming to make Nike Tailwind appear to be on a diet. If the four-figure price won’t make you choke on your avocado toast, I say this is the kick to have when you need a break from the bombastic.
Dior B24 Runtek, SGD1600, is available at Dior stores. Photo: Zhao Xiangji