Nordstrom's $530 'Dirty' Designer Sneakers Remind Us That Pre-Destroyed Apparel Is a Bad Idea
Remember when Nordstrom released that $425 pair of mud-coated denim jeans? How could you forget? We’re still not clear what was worse—that the jeans came pre-dirtied or that the price was so absurdly high. The good news for Nordstrom is that even after all the negative attention from the muddy jeans, the retailer is still a top favorite among shoppers. The bad news? Nordstrom just unveiled the "Superstar Taped Sneaker" by Italian fashion brand, Golden Goose. The new (and not improved) pre-destroyed apparel is back for another round. Except this time, it's in the form of footwear—and it sold out.
The "worn-in" look is a trend that’s been happening for years, and we get it. But we're not quite sure we understand these duct-taped, dirty and tattered looking sneakers.
The caption for the shoes describes them as such: “Crumply, hold-it-all-together tape details a distressed leather sneaker in a retro low profile with a signature sidewall star and a grungy rubber cupsole.” For some, that might sound like a pair of shoes they've recently trashed. For the small price of $530, these dirty sneakers were sold out more quickly than it would take to wear in your own pair of $60 sneakers.
USA Today offered the following analysis:
In Nordstrom's defense, many buyers shell out extra money for new shirts that appear distressed and pants that are preripped. But scuffed-up sneakers? To some, that's taking the worn trend too far.
And, sure enough, similar to the backlash over its muddy jeans, Nordstrom is getting ripped to shreads (no pun intended) over the sneakers. Take a look at some of the Twitter comments:
Golden Goose comes out with a pair of sneakers listed at $530 that are worn down and kept together by tape. Since when is it a trend to glorify the appearance of used sneakers and poverty? pic.twitter.com/1yLTuitIBX
— Bryan Heckman (@b_hecky) September 20, 2018
I don't know what's more ridiculous - that Nordstrom is selling fake worn out duct-taped sneakers for $500+ a pair or that they are actually sold out. https://t.co/sfwp7LvbDL
— Franci Penov (@francip) September 22, 2018
Another Twitter user commented, “These are an April Fools Joke that someone forgot to take off the website, right?” We’re not disagreeing with her.
We also had to check out the one (and only) review on Nordstrom’s website. Especially since the pair was rated a full five stars.
The shoes sold out, and here we are talking about Nordstrom, so from a marketing standpoint the move seems to have paid off. But we still don't recommend attempting something similar for promotional apparel campaigns. There's some novelty here, sure, and maybe it could even fit in with certain kinds of markets or events. But while Nordstrom is big enough to absorb the backlash that accompanies apparel like this, small promo clients might not be.
If you're going to do it, at least make sure the price point isn't $530. But we still recommend that you stick to the basics and leave the duct tape for office DIYs.