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The BALENCIAGA ZEN
The BALENCIAGA ZENCourtesy of Balenciaga

Balenciaga’s Zen heralds a new era of ugly trainers

The BALENCIAGA ZEN takes inspiration from martial artists, football players, and general sports fans

If the 2010s saw the rise of the ugly sneaker trend in the form of Balenciaga’s Triple-S trainer, the 2020s may see a more minimalistic silhouette take its place, if Balenciaga’s latest shoe is anything to go by, that is. 

Entitled the ‘BALENCIAGA ZEN’, the leather-free and lightweight trainer is a distinct step away from its now-iconic chunky shoe, which stomped onto the runway back in 2017

Bearing a striking resemblance to Puma’s Mostro Perf Leather, the Zen has been developed for the brand’s SS20 collection. Inspired by athletes, most notably martial artists and footballers, the shoe will embrace athletic tech. With a subtler shape, smooth edges, and hidden laces, the trainer will be available in monochrome and a variety of classic colour combinations.   

Not the first to announce a new shoe this year, Raf Simons also revealed his label will debut a fresh silhouette at its AW20 showing in Paris later this month.  

With Simons arguably introducing the ugly shoe trend to the world with his XXL Ozweego trainer back in 2013, the Belgian designer’s latest shoe, entitled (RUNNER), also seems to be embracing a more athletic vision. 

Describing the trainer via a post on Instagram, the label called the shoe “an investigation of form and function and an exploration of shape, (where) the typical silhouettes of sports sneakers and re-proposed.” Although we are still yet to see what the silhouette will look like, if its description is anything to go by, it may be time to throw those Fila Disruptors away and dig-out your old astroturf trainers from year nine hockey.