The Shoes That Sprout

…are really not quite grassy

By Awang Sulung

I

was ready to go to the Loewe store with a small watering can. Luckily, I did not. How foolish would that be? When I passed Casa Loewe yesterday and caught sight of the Grass Sneaker, I had to look at them. Could the rumput be kept alive? The shoes are made in Italy—they came from a distance. At close range, it was immediately clear that it was not a result of horticulture and there was no irrigation involved. It was all fake raffia—the grassy parts. I could not resist touching them. The lawn-like surface was rather rough, even with fibre that is polyester, rather than from the raffia palm. But it did look rather real, at least from outside the store. As no soil is involved in its composition, the shoe is rather light. The description on the website later told me that the upper is “hand embroidered”, which thus renders “a grass effect”. Some how that brings to mind “orange juice drink”.

I wanted to be sure this was not a dummy (while the real deal is stored somewhere in a green house, waiting to be collected and cared for); I asked a staffer if the pair was the shoes for sale. She was delighted to confirmed that what I saw was it—the “commercial release”, without genuine grass. To be honest, I was a little disappointed. Actual sheathing blades of leaves would be cool, not just nice. A living upper! I had even hoped that the shoe comes with a special bottle of fertiliser—just a spritz to keep the grass growing. I imagined how happy the shoes would be if they could enjoy a bit of rain. Alas, that was not to be.

If the grass is not real, then Loewe isn’t the first to create turfy footwear. Back in 2019, before we heard of lockdowns, there was the Air Max 1 G NRG, which now seems like the OG grass sneaker. Nike took things a tad too literally when they released the golf shoe for the links. The matted green did not look quite like the stuff on which you might tee off, but it did appear unusual (even the Swoosh was partly obscured) and might have served as a neat camouflage on a physical golfing green. Loewe’s Grass Sneaker, I think, has less a chance to blend in when most of our grasslands are manicured. Still, the shoe that seems to be built on Loewe’s Flow Runner, will still stand out (and that’s the purpose), especially on five-foot-way concrete.

Loewe Grass Sneaker in Canvas and Raffia, SGD2,650, is available at Loewe stores and online. Photo: Zhao Xiangji

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