The Japanese cotton socks called Tabi, originally worn with slippers and in vogue in the 15th century, have gone through a fashion Darwinian cycle that’s hard to ignore. Through the years, there has been the popular sock boots rendition called Jika-Tabi that took off in Japan as sneakers became produced on a mass scale at the turn of the 20th century — but it was Martin Margiela‘s split toe sock boot from his debut 1988 show that sealed its status as a cult fashion item.
Fast forward to today, sock-like hybrid shoes have become a street style magnet, thanks to brands such as Balenciaga the Pantashoes (a spandex boots-pants onesie) and Fendi, with their tube sock-booties.
This season, the sock shoe designs hit a crescendo as many other designers have riffed off the trend with their creations; there are seamless sock sneakers at labels like Salvatore Ferragamo, Furla and DKNY, to never-seen-before loafer versions at Hermes and Bally. When classic leather goods houses like the latter are in the game as well, you know this trend is more than just a passing fad — instead, it’ll become the new normal.
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