The Sneaker Hall Of Fame is FashionBeans’ compendium of the most iconic trainer designs of all time. From the Common Projects Achilles Low to the Nike Air Force One, these are the kicks that have changed the course of footwear history.
There’s a well-known scene from Jurassic Park in which young Tim Murphy notices a glass of water shaking. He’s worried that something big is approaching, and it’s not long before his fears are vindicated when a tyrannosaurus rex shows up and knocks him into next week.
To get a snapshot of what’s been going on in fashion over the course of the last three years, just visualise this iconic piece of cinema, but with two key differences. Instead of Tim Murphy, picture a white leather sneaker. And in place of the toothy dinosaur, imagine a freakishly large and colourful sneaker that looks like what might happen if a platform shoe and your old PE teacher’s footwear made a baby under a rainbow.
The infamous stacked sole merges that of a running, a basketball and a track shoe
The Balenciaga Triple S is the shoe to be thanked – or blamed, depending on who you ask – for this dramatic U-turn in footwear fashion. It’s an elegantly absurd piece of design that had fashion editors scribbling in notepads and high-street shops churning out copycats the second it stomped onto the runway in January 2017.
There are few items which can truly lay claim to being instant icons, but this is one of them. Here we chart the reasons why and delve into the history of one of the sneaker world’s most polarising designs.
The History Of The Balenciaga Triple S
Created in collaboration between Demna Gvasalia and storied high-fashion footwear designer David Tourniaire-Beauciel – a man who has created shoes for the likes of Maison Margiela, Givenchy and who frequently works with Balenciaga – the Triple S was set for greatness from the beginning.
The ‘S’ in Triple S stands for sole. In other words, this shoe has three of them. Moulds were taken from a running shoe, a basketball shoe and track shoe, which were then stacked to create the 6.5cm platform that gives the Triple S both its unique look and its name.
The silhouette that birthed a thousand chunky trainers
An exercise in excess, this maximalist approach to design was in stark contrast to the years of minimalist trainers, low-profile silhouettes and restrained detailing that preceded it. It’s something which shocked many, but for followers of fashion it was a predictable development. The pendulum had finally begun to swing the other way and it was the Triple S that took the decisive step.
What Makes The Triple S Great
Balenciaga’s Triple S was the catalyst for a luxury sneaker market now worth hundreds of millions. The first of its kind, it was a premium house-designed shoe that had sneakerheads and high-end fashion aficionados alike clambering over one another in order to get their hands on a pair.
A combination of materials are often used, including nubuck, leather and breathable mesh
At a time when streetwear and haute couture were still awkwardly courting, this crossover design helped to close the gap. In essence, The Triple S is time-stamped proof that two worlds really have collided in such a way as to now be virtually indistinguishable from each other.
The size of the shoe is embroidered on each toe
It’s been on the scene since 2017 – which is more like a decade in fashion terms – and yet still it remains one of the most praised, ridiculed, imitated, memed and sought after sneakers ever to have existed. Quite a legacy for such a young design, and proof that the Balenciaga Triple S is worthy of an early induction into the Sneaker Hall Of Fame.
Our Favourite Colourways
How To Style The Triple S
Under ordinary circumstances, we’d be the first to advise you to reach for a pair of no-show socks when dabbling in sneakers, but where bulky kicks are concerned, there’s a different set of rules.
Slim-leg trousers and bare ankles are off the menu. Unless you want your legs to look freakishly skinny relative to the colossal shoes, you’d be best to invest in some ankle socks. Bonus streetwear points if they’re white and have a logo on them. Then just throw on a pair of straight-leg cargos cuffed a few inches to complete your lower half.
Avoid skinny or slim trousers as this will make your feet look freakishly large
Up top, go for something oversized to match the shoes. A hoodie would be our garment of choice. Either plain, or bearing the logo of a suitably street-friendly label. Finish off by layering a statement jacket or gilet over the top and accessorise with a dad cap or beanie, weather dependent, and tie it all together with a cross-body bag.
How To Wear The Triple S
The shoes pictured cost £645 and are available from MR PORTER
Sneaker Hall Of Fame: Balenciaga Triple S
Literally the biggest thing in footwear for the past two years
Image: Charlie Thomas for FashionBeans