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"Fly like a Butterfly": how Saucony and Tombogo created the clog of the year

Say goodbye to laces and hello to the dawn of functional design

Fly like a Butterfly: how Saucony and Tombogo created the clog of the year Say goodbye to laces and hello to the dawn of functional design

For the past few years, the world of hyperfunctional design has found new life. A generation of young designers and creative studios around the world have creatively explored and elevated numerous concepts and technologies developed in the world of performance clothing, taking the idea of functional design to new heights-one of the products of this design are modular sneakers, of which the latest collaboration between Tombogo and Saucony, called "The Butterfly" is the absolute star. «I loved the idea of contributing my outside of the box ideas and utilitarian designs toward a footwear brand that has mastered the art of the traditional running shoe», said designer Tommy Bogo in reference to Saucony's huge repertoire of patented designs and technologies throughout its long history. «The Butterfly’s modular design and removable booti perfectly embodies the utilitarian ideals and products that TOMBOGO stands for». And indeed, the new Butterfly seems to want to take Saucony's long technical heritage, condense it, and take it to a new level: The Butterfly is indeed a sneaker, but it is also a clog and a technical slipper - its 3-in-1 design represents the same lightness and naturalness evoked by its name. «The design of the sole on the removable booti is great. The grid design on the booti’s sole aligns with the grid insole of the clog which allows these two pieces to securely lock in and function together as one shoe». A design that reflects the values promoted by the brand itself and defined by Paolo Petri, Global Product & Merchandising Director, «innovation, authenticity and culture where within innovation we are not only talking about technology but also about new design and sustainability».

The sneaker world is changing. More than abandoning the past, however, it is exploring new territories, new technologies to create shoes without laces or even to achieve that rare alchemy between innovation and nostalgic fantasy that Petri calls «retro-tech». But if other Saucony sneakers, such as the Pro Grid Triumph 4 that we will see later this year and which is inspired by the brand's Y2K models, want to explore and re-edit the heritage of the past, The Butterfly is all about, if not the future, at least the present and that collective quest by the design world to find the next evolutionary chain of the sneaker: « I think The Butterfly directly contributes to this conversation of the contemporary sneaker. It’s no secret that folks want comfortability in their fashion nowadays. Considering this demand, us designers are reshaping the idea of a sneaker with these qualities in mind». A need, the one highlighted by Tommy Bogo that also becomes the most important claim to find authenticity in fashion: «Functionality to me means giving utility to a design. There’s a lot of products in pop culture that lack purpose outside of their logo or branding value. Designing with functionality is my way of pushing the envelope of fashion forward». Although it is clear that, as Petri had already noted, innovation and authenticity can never be decoupled from culture anyway.

Just in reference to culture, and of course the culture of Saucony and its archive, Petri talked about retro-tech. «The choice to start again with our classics was quite immediate and in some ways obvious», he continues to explain, although after the 2021-long celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Saucony Jazz and the 30th anniversary of the Saucony Shadow 6000, perhaps among the brand's major icons, interspersed with releases and numerous collaborations, the brand also developed «a much more progressive and contemporary look». The Butterfly is perhaps the first and most important example of this kind of research, but in the brand's plans, which Petri anticipated to us, there are three directions to pursue: «contamination from our running and performance world, repurposing technical running products from the early 2000s and reinterpreting our classics in a contemporary key». And so alongside the reinterpretation of the classics that we will see this summer with the launch of the Made in Italy version of the Shadow 5000 and the cross-pollination of genres that gave birth to products like The Butterfly, a new category appears that is the reissue of the brand's Y2K archive. We have already talked about the Pro Grid Triumph 4 that will arrive at the end of the year, and which comes right from that era, but in Paris Saucony presented the 3D Grid Hurricane that instead reinterprets the brand's late 1990s silhouettes.

Whether designing the sneaker of the future with Tombogo, reissuing a decades-old classic with premium products and materials, or exploring the archives of the past to unearth vintage treasures within to introduce to new generations, the idea behind the spirit of Saucony is, today as 124 years ago, dynamism in its purest form.