There are many things I would rather leave forgotten when it comes to my post-school, early uni days, especially on the fashion front. I hate to admit it, but in the spirit of talking about past sartorial regrets I may as well get it all out in the open—I was one of those girls who insisted on wearing Clarks school shoes with an over-the-top heel. You know the ones. Why? I thought at the time they made me look grown-up and sophisticated for someone preparing to enter the big bad world, but in reality, made me look like Bambi on ice running toward the bus.
That familiar wave of not-so-welcome nostalgia hit me this week, when fashion designer Isabel Marant announced she’d brought back her notorious wedge sneakers. *Shudder.* The Marant Beketts, with their puffed-up, pillow-y tongued design topped off with a hidden wedge heel and velcro straps, are hard to forget, and a shoe that I’d spent the most of 2010 (and beyond) lusting after.
They really need no introduction, but behold:
Prior to the days of Instagram and TikTok, we were grabbing our fashion must-haves from the pages of glossy mags and tabloids, that plastered The Bekett on the feet of enviable women, from Miranda Kerr, Gisele Bündchen, Alessandra Ambrosio, and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley—and that’s only just scratching the surface. Beyoncé famously wore the black suede variation in her music video for “Love On Top”, while Kate Bosworth and Alexa Chung regularly strolled around the fields of Coachella in denim cutoffs and red and navy colourways.
Basically, the style reminds me of a time where all I longed for, dreamed for, was to slip on a pair of Sass & Bide black rats, strap on my Marant Bekett’s, and sling an Alexander Wang Rocco bag over my shoulder. That truly was the be-all and end-all. I had friends whose entire personalities at the time were formed by the fact they were lucky enough to have purchased a pair, despite six-month-long waiting lists, while others forever hunted for the perfect dupe.
It might seem silly to remember something as simple as a sneaker with both fondness and horror, but Marant’s OG “ugly sneaker” wasn’t merly a style we considered the world’s most fashionable item in the 2010s, it truly signified a cultural phenomenon that effortessly strutted itself into the zeitgeist.
The Bekett’s popularity eventually wavered, with Marant herself denouncing the millions of knockoffs that began to flood the fashion scene. “They have become something super-vulgar, so I’m not feeling like I want to be the wedge-sneaker designer,” she told The Cut in 2014.
Well, as the cyclical nature of fashion demands, they hath returned.
Marant has released The Balskee, alongside a campaign starring Australian model Adut Akech, with a new design that’s much like its predecessor, only with the “volume turned up”, as the New York Times describes. It has the same velcro straps and suede finishes from the beloved original, but comes with added height and a chunkier sole in a variety of “Lego colours”, as the designer says, including red, yellow, green, black and white.
Are we all really that surprised? Fashion has always been cyclical in nature, just take a look at Bella Hadid’s wardrobe or fashion trends of late, featuring pieces we’ve had hidden in the back of our wardrobes since the early ’90s.
I asked some friends in our group chat how they felt about the return of the wedge sneaker, and rather unsurprisingly, it’s pretty unwelcome. Perhaps it might take us some time to warm up to the idea of wearing a piece that also reminds us of times we thought frosted Juicy Tubes in sickening fragrances of bubblegum and cherry were a good idea, and when low-slung jeans by Bettina Liano in stonewashed dark blues were the It-item.
But in case you were looking to grab a pair yourself, The Balskee’s retail for $770 US and are available to shop here.