In things you never knew you needed until today: whisky sneakers. Or, more specifically, sneakers created in a collaboration between Glenfiddich and Melbourne-based artist Chase Shiel in honour of the renowned Scottish distillery’s latest release, Grand Cru, a smooth single-malt matured for 23 years and finished in French cuvée oak casks.
Only, you’ll need be quick. There are just 23 pairs.
The limited-edition footwear comes in the same black and gold palette used for the Cru packaging, with details inspired by the experience of drinking the whisky – the look, the aromas, the flavours, the mouth feel.
Aged diesel leather accents on the toe bumper, eyelet panels, wings and heel along with rich nubuck provide the unique aromatic signature that only comes from high-grade leathers, reminiscent of the whisky flavour experience. Gold stitching, including the Glenfiddich stag, finishes the concept with panache.
“The design was all about complementing the Grand Cru,” explains Shiel, who had been customising sneakers for over a decade before formalising his training at RMIT. After graduating, he ventured into more traditional men’s footwear before realising his true passion was deconstructing and reconstructing sneakers to create wearable art.
Melbourne-based artist Chase Shiel in his studio in Kensington, Melbourne, during the design phase.
Glenfiddich presented a unique challenge, he says. “It was essential to keep the black and gold colours and incorporate particular bottle and packaging design aspects. I had actually finished constructing the upper, but I was missing that final spark. That’s where the mid-sections explosion was added – 15,000 embroidered gold stitches. When that was finalised, and I could see the result, it really was a celebration.”
Whisky connoisseurs might sniff at the idea of pairing a single malt with streetwear, but Ross Blainey, Glenfiddich brand ambassador for Australia and New Zealand, says the collaboration is based on the simplest of principles – desire.
Chase Shiel making the exclusive sneakers by hand. The mid-section contains 15,000 embroidered gold stitches.