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Balenciaga's $1,850 'full destroyed' sneakers raise eyebrows online

The high-tops, which feature details like scuffs, rips and what appears to be dirt, have been compared to "beat-up Converse."
Balenciaga's Paris High Top Sneaker in white.
Balenciaga's Paris High Top Sneaker in white.Balenciaga

Balenciaga unveiled its new line of "full destroyed" footwear this week, prompting online criticism over the extremely distressed aesthetic and hefty price tag.

The luxury fashion house released the distressed version of its Paris High Top Sneaker on Monday. The limited edition line retails for $1,850, and features "full destroyed" detailing like rips, scuffs and what appears to be dirt. It's more than twice the price of the standard Paris High Top Sneaker, which costs $625 for a non-distressed look.

Twitter users likened the sneaker to "beat-up Converse" and the "torn up Converse my ma begged me to throw out when I was in high school."

"Balenciaga gotta be a social experiment," one viral tweet reads.

Balenciaga is selling just 100 pairs of the “full destroyed” sneakers, which were created for an ad campaign, Complex reported. The versions being sold online don’t appear as destroyed as the ones photographed for ads, but Twitter users still balked at spending so much on what looks like dirty shoes. One writer described the sneakers as "poverty-chic pieces."

Another Twitter user echoed the sentiment in response to a post about the sneakers: "Why is poverty now an aesthetic for rich people?"

Twitter user Joe Pompliano wondered if the fashion house is "just trolling people at this point."

Brendan Dunne, a writer who specializes in sneaker coverage, questioned why someone would buy the "fully distressed" sneakers.

"If you bought the $1,850 Balenciaga sneaker that looks like it was run over by a lawnmower please seek help but also please reach out to me because I would like to understand where you mind was at in that moment," Dunne said.

Another Twitter user replied to a post about the sneakers with a photo of medieval footwear, writing, "They don't look as good as my Gucci sneakers I just got."

Saint Hoax, a parody account known for their pop culture memes, posted a video of someone falling into a mud pit with the caption, "The new Balenciaga sneakers."

As several Twitter users pointed out, though, Balenciaga's ad campaign to promote the Paris Sneakers worked. The images of the extremely distressed footwear sparked conversations about the brand — even if those conversations were less than flattering.