Why Does Everyone Wear These Red Cartoon Boots?

At each New York Fashion Week, a handful of designer pieces emerge as the crowd’s favourites. Last year, everyone wore Prada logo tank tops and The Row minimal stiletto heels. This past week, however, dainty Manolos were overshadowed by a shoe destined to go viral: MSCHF’s large red boots, appropriately dubbed the large Red Boot.

MSCHF is an experimental fashion brand that frequently uses its product releases to make a statement (often one that is controversial). They have released footwear that resembles medical casts, Birkenstock sandals made from Hermès Birkins and Satan trainers with a drop of real blood on the soles in collaboration with Lil Nas X. The brand enjoys pushing the limits of fashion and, more importantly, making headlines.

Today sees the release of their newest product, which resembles something Mario from Super Mario would wear. They retail for $350, are made of TPU elastomer and EVA mid-outsole, and are inspired by video game aesthetics. “Cartoonishness is an abstraction that frees us from the constraints of reality,” the Boots’ press release stated. “If you kick someone with these boots, they’ll go boing!”

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At New York Fashion Week, the monstrous boots were observed on celebrities and street-style stars. Phil Oh, a street style photographer for Vogue, captured them on Dorian Electra, who wore them with a graphic coat, mini skirt (to display the shoes in their entirety), and a red beret to match. Sarah Snyder coupled a red skirt with white tights, whereas TikTok star and model Wisdom Kaye paired them with athletic shorts.

The consensus appeared to be that the statement boots should be the focal point (and it would be difficult to disagree). In addition to the fashion elite, a handful of celebrities have been spotted wearing them as well. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander wore them to the arena prior to a game, Diplo wore them to a Knicks game, and Janelle Monae shot baskets in them.

Given how impractical and unusual the footwear is, it’s surprising how rapidly and widely the fashion industry has adopted them, even before they’ve been released. A number of TikTok videos demonstrate how difficult it is to put them on and take them off, demonstrating that they are undoubtedly a commitment to wear.

However, if fashionistas adore one thing, it’s a gimmick, and this season, these boots had everyone talking and noticing them. Those who wore them receive bonus points for their courage. Though we suspect they will become as obsolete as a Nintendo 64 by next season.

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