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Balenciaga's Storied History: Head-to-Toe Luxury

Balenciaga Sneakers

The fashion of Balenciaga first moved from Spain to Paris and soon covered the world. Cristóbal Balenciaga founded his fashion label in Spain in 1919 but moved to France and opened his boutique in Paris in 1937. Balenciaga was known for turning around women's fashion in the 1950s, developing new waistlines and sleek lines on his silhouettes along the way. With an ability to construct patterns that worked in the real world, Balenciaga served as a role model for aspiring young designers.

In much the same way that Balenciaga made a mark on the fashion industry through apparel, the brand — nearly 100 years old at the time — embarked on a complete reimagining of sneaker culture. It was often credited with turning the "dad shoe" craze on its head with the 2017 release of the Triple S shoe. But it was also Balenciaga's Speed Sock design that gave the sneaker world an entirely new form to consider. Both models earned the historic fashion label cachet in sneaker culture from the get-go. And while Balenciaga didn't have a history in footwear, modern footwear fans knew it for the luxury brand it was and embraced the changes inspired by the fashion house.

Under the Kering brand — which also owns Gucci, Alexander McQueen and Yves Saint Laurent— Balenciaga continues to make its mark in luxury apparel and sneakers. The brand hasn't rested on its Triple S or Speed Sock success, moving forward with a mix of new styles, including its extensive Track line, a leather high-top sneaker and its most recent foray into Zen models.

Balenciaga's Most Popular Footwear Styles

The modern mix of Balenciaga styles has spanned a wide range — from form-fitting comfort to chunky "ugly shoe" designs to more leather-specific and simplistic styles. And that all comes from just a few years of sneaker history.

  • Credit the Triple S with serving as one of the preeminent '90s-inspired retro creations to take over sneaker culture in 2017, all from the designs of David Tourniaire-Beauciel and Demna Gvasalia. The sole features elements borrowed from running, basketball and track — hence a triple sole that comes through in the shoe's name. The upper complements '90s aesthetics by mixing mesh with multiple leather types and highly stylized overlays to give a defining visual to the Balenciaga Triple S.

  • The Speed Sock features a unique silhouette and has spawned many variations within the Balenciaga brand. The majority of the design consists of a stretch-knit upper a top an outsole. The sock-like moniker isn't just a clever name, as the shoe looks like a sock strapped to an outsole. Balenciaga later added a laced version.

Balenciaga Triple S Sneakers

Balenciaga Triple S Sneakers

Balenciaga Arena High Sneakers

Balenciaga Arena High Sneakers
  • The Arena High is one of the more under-the-radar silhouettes from Balenciaga. This simplistic leather high-top offers an Italian-made perspective on a leather lace-up.

  • The Track line from Balenciaga, best known for its Track Trainer, offers a mix of highly built athletic-inspired designs. With multiple variations of the Track Trainers and Track Sneakers, along with a slide, sandal and even a high-top Hike version, this fully non-leather design is a lesson in overlays.

  • One of the most recent additions to the Balenciaga sneaker line moves away from the highly built Track and Triple S silhouettes and offers a name to match: Zen. The 2020 release of the Zen collection takes inspiration from a variety of sports — from martial arts to golf and even bowling to soccer — for an entirely subtle monochromatic take on a non-leather sneaker.

Balenciaga Sneakers: Collectibility and Value

Retail prices for Balenciaga sneakers often start at around $500 for the simplistic Zen models. However, it can easily push closer to four digits for other silhouettes, such as the Track and Triple S lines. Those luxury prices mean resale prices aren't going to stray far.

The Triple S sneakers fetch some of the highest values on the resale market, with the bolder the color often drawing the most interest. Expect to find dozens of Triple S models between $800 and $1,000, plenty of Trainer versions pushing $1,000 — just $100 more than retail — and the Speed Lace or Speed 2.0 versions pushing past $900, with the popular Graphic Logo version reaching as high as $1,300 on eBay.

Balenciaga Sneakers

Balenciaga Keeps Its Collaborations In-House

As a leader in fashion design, Balenciaga isn't one to enter into a swath of collaborations. We've seen Colette designs and even a Vibram creation, but for the most part, Balenciaga stands alone. In fact, one of the most popular colorways displays the name of the brand in a prominent graphic on the outsole. For Balenciaga, the key collaboration is its own name.

Balenciaga in Popular Culture

The rise of the Triple S overtook sneaker culture in a way nobody could have predicted. Having a luxury brand step in with the '90s-inspired model helped set a tone for what the chunky "ugly dad" shoe could be and sparked designers and brands to follow suit. The Balenciaga takeover in sneaker culture has been swift, and the brand has continued to iterate new designs to ensure it remains a fashion leader.

The Balenciaga Track Sneakers: FAQs

What materials are used in the construction of the Balenciaga Track sneakers?

The Balenciaga Track athletic shoes are crafted from a combination of materials to ensure both performance and style. The upper features a blend of breathable mesh, durable nylon, and premium leather overlays. The soles are constructed out of rubber to provide reliable traction and support.

Can you describe the notable design elements of the Balenciaga Track sneakers?

The design of the Balenciaga Track sneakers for men showcases an intricate layering of materials, textures, and shapes. The multi-paneled upper, along with the unconventional lacing system, adds depth and visual interest. The shoe's balanced silhouette, reflective detailing, the mishmash of angles and shapes, and rugged outsole not only contribute to its distinctive look but also emphasize its robust construction.

What technology is integrated into the Balenciaga Track Sneakers?

The Balenciaga Track sneakers incorporate advanced technology to enhance both comfort and performance. The triple-layered sole includes memory foam to ensure optimal cushioning, while the integrated sole unit offers impact absorption and stability. The shoes' multi-dimensional design includes breathable elements to maintain a comfortable foot climate during extended wear.

What makes the Balenciaga Track sneakers unique?

The Balenciaga Track sneakers stand out for their innovative approach to design, melding modern aesthetics with performance-focused features. The complex layering of materials, combined with the juxtaposition of intricate detailing and exaggerated proportions, sets these sneakers apart as a fusion of fashion and functionality. The incorporation of track-inspired elements lends the shoes a dynamic and urban edge.

Are there different colorways available in Balenciaga Track sneakers?

The Balenciaga Track sneakers are released in a range of colorways, each offering a distinct visual appeal. The available colorways encompass neutral tones, vibrant hues, and monochromatic variations. The variety of available colorways allows wearers to express their individual style preferences and adapt the sneakers to different occasions or outfits.

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