Solid as a Rock — New Issey Miyake x United Nude Rock Sandals
Over the years, footwear brand United Nude has collaborated with some of the biggest boundary-pushing, rule-breaking, out-of-the-box thinkers in the fashion and art worlds — among them Iris van Herpen and Antoine Peters. In January 2017, the brand unveiled its first-ever capsule collection designed alongside Issey Miyake, which incorporated a conceptual shoe design based on the concept of wrapping and hence constructed to envelop the foot using a single piece of leather. Now, the two fashion powerhouses have teamed up again to reveal a new silhouette that’s even more audacious. The new United Nude x Issey Miyake Rock collection, then, is centered on an avant-garde wedge sandal silhouette that centers on a jagged heel with very precise lines and acute angles that play upon both brands’ interest in architecture and geometry.
A profile view of the United Nude x Issey Miyake Rock sandal ($450 at UnitedNude.com) reveals that, at its core, the heel has a wedge shape, but what’s unusual, striking, and inventive here is the use of negative space, how the absence of certain pieces of the heel make it veer away from an otherwise standard triangular block shape. It’s also notable that these cut-outs, so to speak, are incredibly precise: for instance, the wedge segment along the back, positioned right below the heel of the foot has a perky triangular shape, while the middle section of the wedge mirrors a rhombohedron with 45-degree sides, and the front section resembles an obtuse triangle. The front section, right below the toe, meanwhile, has a trapezoid shape. The end result is a wedge that’s meticulously designed to exude strength and precision, but which also feels adventurous and daring.
In terms of functionality, these sandals require great balance since they don’t offer any support along the very back of the foot, so that one’s center of gravity always has to remain between the arch and the ball of the foot. Then again, who buys shoes this intrepid when comfort and practicality are major factors? These shoes are meant to wow, not to facilitate decathlons!
From a design perspective, these shoes play with tons of juxtapositions — one of which pertains to the different energy between the architectural heel and the sporty uppers. With its razor-sharp lines, the heel’s architectural elements lend it a degree of seriousness that is then subverted by the sporty strappy uppers, which convey a more laid-back feel. Available in black, white, nude, lime green, kelly green, and bright pink, these sandals are solid as a rock — at least in terms of their forward-thinking design!