MILAN — There’s a new footwear design Tod’s believes will define a way of life: the shoeker, a trademarked model for men and women under the brand’s No_Code umbrella. The shoeker was unveiled in Milan on Wednesday as the fusion between a shoe and a sneaker and created by No_Code design lead Yong Bae Seok.
Tod’s chairman and chief executive officer Diego Della Valle believes the shoeker will work “because it is supported by a philosophy, it’s not only a way to catch the attention of the consumer but a way of thinking and it responds to the way we live. We are always on the move, we want to travel light, we don’t want closets that are filled with too much stuff, we want to open the fridge and find food that is easy to cook and healthy. This is the first step in a long-term project and is more a philosophy rather than a product.”
The shoeker, which will be available online starting on Friday, was presented by the newly tapped men’s collections visionary Michele Lupi, who introduced Seok, and a group of experts outside of the fashion design industry that are meant to advise on future product development. These included Chris Bangle, chief designer at BMW who in a video talked about aerodynamic inspiration borrowed from automotive design and features shared by cars and sneakers; design curator Angela Rui, who discussed changes in lifestyle; curator Giorgio de Mitri and chef Yoji Tokuyoshi, in charge of the ensuing dinner, on influential Asian aesthetics.
The shoeker is flexible and versatile, conceived for daily use and different occasions from morning to evening, Lupi said. “It’s a hybrid and this term has now a positive connotation in this world where we are always connected and where everything is so fluid.” No_Code allows to be free, outside of pre-formed schemes, it has no seasonality and allows to experiment, contended Lupi.
Della Valle and Seok both underscored that the shoe was made possible by the fusion of artisanal craftsmanship, research on new materials, innovation and technology. “Not everyone can tout all these elements,” Della Valle said. “The artisanal element is fundamental for me, and I have never seen such passionate and professional artisans,” Seok said.
As graphic, computerized images of the shoeker were projected on a screen, Seok, who hails from the automotive design industry and has worked for Pininfarina, talked about the efforts to find the right shape and proportions. “First of all, it must be a beautiful object, the aesthetic is fundamental and that is difficult to achieve, too, but then it must have the perfect shape, it must be well-balanced and have an aerodynamic toe,” the designer said. The sole is made in E.V.A. also known as poly, he said, with rubber for grip, and the shoe is super light, weighing only 300 grams.
In February, Della Valle announced he was overturning Tod’s business model, through the launch of capsules, collaborations and limited-edition collections, courting a younger customer.