The Five Best Shoes Designed by Musicians
Yes, Kanye, we're finally talking about your career as a fashion designer.
Photo by Marco Torres
Lately I've been having a problem, dear readers. I typically do my clothes shopping at thrift stores because a) I'm cheap and b) I'm a hipster (just saying it for you pre-emptively). But if you're like me, you know that it's practically impossible to find a nice pair of size 13 shoes from a thrift store. It's like wearing 4XL shirts: You're just screwed unless you go to a major retail outlet.
Plus, I'm one of those people about shoes. I can wear any jeans, any shirts, but when it comes to shoes, I'm a fashionista. The only way I justify it despite my limited funds is that, well, plenty of people are just as obsessed with shoes as I am... like some of your favorite musicians. From indie-rock bands to superstar rappers, you'll find all sorts not only wearing the nicest (and most expensive) shoes, but even designing their own.
But are they actually any good at it? Well, I'll be the judge of that. Here are the five best I've seen.
5. Air Yeezy Kanye West may bitch a lot about how hard it is to make it in the fashion world, but he's definitely a hit when it comes to shoes. His sneaker collaboration with Nike went over huge in 2009 and again with a sequel in 2012.
They are pretty damn nice. Some of the color schemes work better than others, and I think the original all-black-and-white ones were the best, but Kanye definitely knows what he's doing designing shoes. Now, T-shirts are a different story...
4. Keep + Dinosaur Jr. Keep and J Mascis teamed up earlier this year to design these very cool suede sneakers. Purple enough for Prince and featuring a hippie flower design on the back, these are probably not for everyone. Still, if you've got the style to rock them, they're pretty awesome.
Plus, these shoes came with two bonuses. First off, they're 100 percent vegan, which is a major selling point for some people. To be honest, I love leather. Even Morrissey can't deny the appeal of leather. But these actually work without it! Second, they came with a 7-inch containing J Mascis's fantastic cover of Mazzy Star's "Fade Into You."
3. Animal Collective's The Tobin Before Dinosaur Jr. got on with Keep, Animal Collective designed their own line with the company. I love this classic slip-on design, and the Tobin features some crazy-ass drawings by the collective's Avey Tare himself.
If you're an Animal Collective fan, these are practically a must-have. Even if you're not, though, they've got a slick design and the drawings are creative enough to stand out from the crowd. Plus, since the rest of their surface area is white, you artists out there could probably lay down some of your own drawings on them to customize these.
More kicks on the next page.
2. Dekline's Wu-Tang Killer Bees There's only one thing that the Wu-Tang Clan knows about almost as much as rap, and that's fashion, so it doesn't surprise me that they made their own shoes. I am shocked, though, that they're not a whole lot flashier like the Air Yeezys.
These classic-looking sneakers are fancy while still being classy and understated enough to go with just about any clothing. The only sign that they're Wu-Tang shoes is the black-and-yellow design, so they're great for true fans and laymen alike.
1. No Age's Emerica Sneakers In collaboration with skateboarder Ed Templeton, the dudes from punk rock band No Age designed probably my favorite sneakers ever. I'm a massive fan of skate shoes, and Emerica is probably the best brand out there. No Age used Templeton's own brand and built on it for this pair of sneakers that are both vegan and yet designed to withstand all the abuse your shoes take when you're skating.
Personally, I don't skate, but the shoes just look badass. The design is simple yet sleek, and the orange-and-red soles are just awesome.
ROCKS OFF'S GREATEST HITS
Get the Music Newsletter