The post-ballet practice sneakers? Photo: Red Valentino. Photo: Red Valentino
By Shu Xie
Forgive me for starting by stating the obvious: sneakers are big. But sneakers that are not following the deep foot prints left by dad shoes are rare. Originality in the sneaker-sphere is as abundant as Kanye West’s smile. That’s why my encounter with these shoes was one that aroused something in me. Exactly what, I can’t say.
Red Valentino’s ballet-pumps-as-sneakers—and called, what else, Ballet sneakers—are footwear that should not have existed based on need. But since need is not a prerequisite of trending footwear, here they are, complete with the signature ribbons to secure the shoe to the ankle. For those who think that the inspiration is too obvious, there are versions sans ribbons.
The Ballet sneaker is the highlight at the Red Valentino store. Photo Zhao Xiangji
But I like the ribboned shoe. Sneaker brands have been accused of not sufficiently catering to women, and this is one that clearly does. Since most of the kicks we choose these days need not be about performance (look at LV’s Archlight or anything Balenciaga offers), it isn’t certain if these shoes will survive the morning run in the Botanic Gardens, but for trips to Orchard for tea with the BFFs, I think they’ll do just fine.
Red Valentino describes the Ballet sneaker as “delicate and sophisticated”, equating, probably for the first time, delicates with performance footwear. To be certain, the neoprene upper and the black-and-white rubber sole—flexible, like ballet pumps—are sterner stuff. The feminine touch (girly, some would say) is in the grosgrain ribbons that, unless you are prone to the pointe, simply prettify. And why not?!
Red Valentino ‘Ballet’ sneakers, SGD650, is available at Valentino Red, NAC