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The trend of fluffy sneakers

From the Nike SB Dunk Grateful Dead to the latest New Balance by Salehe Bembury

The trend of fluffy sneakers  From the Nike SB Dunk Grateful Dead to the latest New Balance by Salehe Bembury
Salehe Bembury x New Balance 2002R
Concepts x Vault by Vans "Kings Road"
Concepts x Vault by Vans "Kings Road"
Concepts x Vault by Vans "Kings Road"
Concepts x Vault by Vans "Kings Road"
Concepts x Vault by Vans "Kings Road"
Nike Blazer CPFM Sponge By You
Nike Blazer CPFM Sponge By You
Nike Blazer CPFM Sponge By You
Aimé Leon Dore Nike Air Force 1 Bespoke
Aimé Leon Dore Nike Air Force 1 Bespoke
Yeezy Crepe Sneaker Season 6 Thick Shaggy Suede Taupe
Yeezy Crepe Sneaker Season 6 Thick Shaggy Suede Taupe
Yeezy Crepe Sneaker Season 6 Thick Shaggy Suede Taupe
adidas Yeezy Powerphase Quiet Grey
adidas Yeezy Powerphase Quiet Grey
Vans Old Skool Notre
Vans Old Skool Notre
Vans Old Skool Notre
Nike Blazer CPFM Sponge By You
Nike Blazer CPFM Sponge By You
Nike SB Three Bears Pack
adidas JS Teddy Bear
adidas JS Teddy Bear
Salehe Bembury x New Balance 2002R
Salehe Bembury x New Balance 2002R
Salehe Bembury x New Balance 2002R
Salehe Bembury x New Balance 2002R
Salehe Bembury x New Balance 2002R
Nike SB Three Bears Pack
Nike SB Three Bears Pack
Nike SB Dunk Low Grateful Dead Bears
Nike SB Dunk Low Grateful Dead Bears
Nike SB Dunk Low Grateful Dead Bears
Nike SB Dunk Low Grateful Dead Bears
Nike SB Dunk Low Grateful Dead Bears
Nike SB Dunk Low Grateful Dead Bears
Nike SB Dunk Low Grateful Dead Bears
Nike SB Three Bears Pack

Alongside acclaimed collaborations with luxury brands, the umpteenth reiteration of classic silhouettes re-proposed in a new version and in general a certain flattening on a creative level, in the last two years a trend has made its way into the sneaker world that seems bound to grow further in the upcoming months. The search for new materials and the use of unexpected textures has meant that sneakers with a "hairy", furry or shaggy upper, have reached out a prominent role in the contemporary sneaker game, as @samutaro explained well on Instagram

The latest sneaker to join this creative current, in a certain way reinterpreting and elevating it, is the New Balance 2002R designed by Salehe Bembury, a sneaker inspired by the shapes and colours of the Antelope Canyon, reproduced to the smallest details in the silhouette, a suede upper complete with a dirty effect on the midsole, to simulate the red clay of the canyon. Thanks to such specific details, especially in terms of texture, the sneaker is already an example of the best releases of the year. 

Salehe Bembury x New Balance 2002R
Salehe Bembury x New Balance 2002R
Salehe Bembury x New Balance 2002R
Salehe Bembury x New Balance 2002R
Salehe Bembury x New Balance 2002R
Salehe Bembury x New Balance 2002R

It's certainly not the first time that materials of this type have been used in a sneaker, but the approach with which they are used and the final result indicate two very different trends. Think of the adidas sneakers designed by Jeremy Scott in the early 2000s, real Teddy Bear on your feet, or even the Nike Dunk SB pack dedicated to the Three Bears released in 2006, definitely an extreme creation, exaggerated in colours and in the materials chosen. A trend carried out also by Cactus Plant Flea Market for the collaboration with Nike Sponge By You, or by the Nike Dunk SB pack dedicated to the Grateful Dead released just a few months ago, or the Concepts x Vault by Vans collection released in September. In all these silhouettes is the tactile component, so unusual, that attracts the observer's eye, together with the use of bright colours. 

adidas JS Teddy Bear
adidas JS Teddy Bear
Nike SB Three Bears Pack
Nike SB Three Bears Pack
Nike SB Three Bears Pack
Nike SB Three Bears Pack
Nike Blazer CPFM Sponge By You
Nike Blazer CPFM Sponge By You
Nike Blazer CPFM Sponge By You
Nike Blazer CPFM Sponge By You
Nike Blazer CPFM Sponge By You
Nike SB Dunk Low Grateful Dead Bears
Nike SB Dunk Low Grateful Dead Bears
Nike SB Dunk Low Grateful Dead Bears
Nike SB Dunk Low Grateful Dead Bears
Nike SB Dunk Low Grateful Dead Bears
Nike SB Dunk Low Grateful Dead Bears
Nike SB Dunk Low Grateful Dead Bears
Concepts x Vault by Vans "Kings Road"
Concepts x Vault by Vans "Kings Road"
Concepts x Vault by Vans "Kings Road"
Concepts x Vault by Vans "Kings Road"
Concepts x Vault by Vans "Kings Road"

However, there is another perspective with which to interpret the trend, connected to a more normcore imagery, that lives of essentials, that prefers silhouettes with a classic flavour, in which the soft texture becomes part of more luxury-oriented streetwear aesthetic. This was Kanye West's intention with the Yeezy Crepe Season 6 Shaggy Thick Suede Taupe, perhaps the least hyped Yeezy ever, but that was somehow a precursor to a much more successful sneaker, despite the release limited to the USA, the Yeezy Powerphase Quite Gray Suede, from 2019. The previous year, the collaboration between Vans and Chicago-based retailer Notre had given life to an Old Skool without equal, both for the material chosen and for the unofficial symbol of Vans - that white stripe on the side of the upper - which for this sneaker turned into the drawing of two shaking hands. The chromatic choice is very reminiscent of the capsule created by the brand with JJJJound, especially in the intentions and imagination to which it refers, the same from which Aimé Leon Dore also drew inspiration in 2018 for the creation of a Nike Air Force 1 Bespoke. 

Yeezy Crepe Sneaker Season 6 Thick Shaggy Suede Taupe
Yeezy Crepe Sneaker Season 6 Thick Shaggy Suede Taupe
Yeezy Crepe Sneaker Season 6 Thick Shaggy Suede Taupe
adidas Yeezy Powerphase Quiet Grey
adidas Yeezy Powerphase Quiet Grey
Vans Old Skool Notre
Vans Old Skool Notre
Vans Old Skool Notre
Aimé Leon Dore Nike Air Force 1 Bespoke
Aimé Leon Dore Nike Air Force 1 Bespoke

The choice of this type of material is certainly connected to the seasonality of the shoe - "furry" or fleece-like textures are perfect for autumn-winter - but it is also connected to the ultimate goal with which a sneaker is designed. On the one hand, a material like this allows you to experiment, to let the creativity free, to create exaggerated silhouettes, real colourful and fun patchworks; on the other hand, it allows to obtain a more 'high', more sophisticated and luxury effect for shoes with a linear design.