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Maison Margiela and Reebok design split-toe sneakers for the digital age

Maison Margiela and Reebok design split-toe sneakers for the digital age

Parisian fashion house Maison Margiela has collaborated with sportswear brand Reebok to launch a collection of high-heeled, split-toe trainers for the era of the "cyber-industrial revolution".

The shoe collection was launched during Maison Margiela's Spring-Summer 2020 Artisanal Co-ed show in Paris, which took place in January.

Each design is a cross between Reebok's dynamic Instapump Fury trainer from 1994 and the French haute couture atelier's signature Tabi shoe from 1988, which takes cues from the traditional Japanese split-toe sock.

The resulting hybrid design retains the Instapump Fury's futuristic aesthetic, with vibrant primary-colourways and geometric layering, but welcomes an additional split-toe and the occasional block high heel.

While the Tabi's split-toed calfskin upper forms the base of the shoes, Reebok's "pump mechanism" inflation technology informs the rest of the design.

This technology, which was initially developed by the sportswear brand in 1989, sees two small nodules embedded at the top of the shoe – one is a pump used to fill the top layer wrapped around the body of the shoe with air, while the other button next to it is used to deflate it.

According to Maison Margiela, this transformative function is representative of it's key philosophies, making the collaboration a natural pairing.

Maison Margiela's creative director John Galliano aimed to reevaluate the "values" and "codes" of bourgeois dressing when designing the collection.

The designs build on Galliano's long-running exploration of the relationship between humanity and technology in the digital age, and are each labelled as "a statement shoe for the age of the cyber-industrial revolution".

Like the original Reebok sneaker, the outer-sole and midsole are made from rubber and expansive foam. To grant both flexibility and stability, a sheet of Reebok's Hexalite shock-absorbing cushioning material is integrated into the sole.

A Graphlite carbon-fibre rod is built into the bridge of the heeled versions of the shoes to connect the sole to the heel.

The shoe has been launched in six different colour variations, including all-black or all-white, and various colourways of yellow, black and red, or white, blue and red.

Another all-black version of the shoe features a faux crocodile material with a clear pump patch.

Galliano's 2018 collection for Maison Margiela similarly saw him design a series of futuristic garments for a "new tribe [of] neo-digital natives".

The Artisanal AW 2018 women's collection saw layers of sorbet-coloured garments worn in reverse –  inspired by the way we dress in haste and may put things on back-to-front – and iPhones clamped to model's calves.

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