Since the 80s, sneaker companies have realized that getting athletes to endorse their shoes translates to big money. Over twenty-five years after the launch of the first Air Jordans, superstar kicks are an even bigger business than anyone could have imagined. Since chefs have risen to celebrity status, it only makes sense that they would get into the shoe game, too. MOZO is a chef shoe company that has partnered with some big names in the culinary world (Marcus Samuelsson, Chris Cosentino, Aaron Sanchez) to create chef-branded kicks and it got me thinking about some other chefs who could use their own branded sneakers. Say goodbye to those ugly-ass chef’s clogs because I’ve got fourteen hypothetical chef sneakers for your foodie feet.
Air Force TKeller (Nike)
Nike’s first shoe in their chefcentric Toqued Off series builds on the iconic Air Force 1 model with Thomas Keller-inspired accents like a freckled kosher salt crust, biodynamic laces, and leather produced just outside of Napa in Sonoma County. As an added bonus, there’s a commemorative leather lobe of foie gras in the box.
ink.Star Low (The Hundreds)
Michael Voltaggio has already teamed up with streetwear brand The Hundreds for limited edition t-shirts, but this new collab takes things to the next level. California retro chic meets molecular gastronomy for a canvas slip-on that’s sure to leave a mark (despite non-marking soles). The soles are actually the coolest part: they’re made from the same condensed powdered horseradish that Voltaggio serves on his beef tartare dish at ink.
Wolfgang Pump (LA Gear)
The hottest brand of the 80s returns with a sneaker that could only fit the hottest chef of the 80s. The design scheme celebrates the interior of the flagship Spago in Beverly Hills’ Golden Triangle. Miniature replicas of Spago’s iconic asymmetrical skylights cover the shoe’s upper while the colorway is meant to evoke Puck’s legendary smoked salmon pizza.
Crocs is making its first foray into the sneaker market with their biggest celebrity endorser: Mario Batali. Made from the same foam resin found in all Crocs, these hi-top sneakers are lightweight and flexible for the chef on the go. In honor of Mario, the classic orange color will henceforth be known as “Batali.”
The Garden (Adidas Originals)
True to form, this sneaker created for the world’s most Danish superstar chef is made entirely from ingredients found within a fifty meter radius of Noma in Copenhagen. The ingredients are synthesized into the all new AdiDirt material and turned into a sneaker that smells heavily of blueberries and carrots.
Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo
O.I.N.K. stands for Organic Indestructible Natural Kicks and they’re a perfect fit for Shook and Dotolo’s meat-based cooking. They’re not so much sneakers as just partially dried pig’s bladders that mold to your feet. It may sound disgusting, but they’re actually quite comfortable. Word on the street is that the guys have already served theirs as a special at Animal.
Spanish shoe company Camper isn’t known for their sneakers, but for this tribute to Ferran Adrià, it seemed like a perfect match. Also, the production cost was minimal considering the shoes are completely invisible. Skeptics complain that consumers are just buying an empty box but Adrià himself is a huge proponent of the creation, saying that they represent “the ideal of the perfect sneaker and nothing more.”
Only two pairs of these were ever made, but if you’re into steampunk sneakers, the Escarwent2015 is for you. Since his passing in 1935, Escoffier has been revered for his revolutionary ways in the kitchen and now there’s footwear to commemorate his genius. Whether or not he would have worn these sneaks is completely up for debate.
The Goats (Under Armour)
The Goats give a shout-out to Izard’s Girl & the Goat restaurant as well as her love of streetball legend Earl “The Goat” Manigault. Fun fact: The Goats are made from 100% goat leather.
白 (A Bathing Ape)
Ultra-cool Japanese shoe company A Bathing Ape put together its first chef shoe for Japanese Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto. The single character used to name the shoe translates to “white” in English and pays tribute to the chef’s trademark style of only white clothing. While the visible shoe is all white, the interior lining comes in five different color options: maguro, hamachi, ikura, tamago, and tako. They’re all named after the chef’s favorite fish for sushi.
Marco Pierre White
MPW (British Knights)
British Knights are making a comeback with the help of British celebrity chef Marco Pierre White. The man who gave Gordon Ramsay, Heston Blumenthal, and Curtis Stone their star turns is now back in the spotlight himself with a shoe that can best be described as “difficult.” The shoe has a single opening toward the heel and the wearer is meant to somehow finagle the damn thing onto his foot through pure force of will. It’s not selling very well.
Étoiles (Le Coq Sportif)
You’re right, Ducasse would never wear sneakers. These “Stars,” though, are endorsed by Ducasse and made entirely out of Michelin Stars. How modest.
A-Funk All-Stars (Peak)
A-Funk Collective is a term coined by writer Josh Ozersky in Time Magazine about the group of burgeoning Asian-American chefs who are making quite a name for themselves these days. The group includes Roy Choi, David Chang, Dale Talde, Eddie Huang, Danny Bowien, Edward Lee, Paul Qui, Corey Lee, Joe Ng, and Kris Yenbamroong. Chinese shoe company Peak decided to pay tribute to the group as a whole with their A-Funk All-Stars, a hi-top sneaker that has already become the darling of hipster Asian food bloggers all over the country.
Stage Four (Reebok)
Achatz was diagnosed with Stage Four tongue cancer in 2007 and almost lost his ability to taste. Eight years later, he’s going strong with some of the most innovative food in the world. Reebok wanted to honor the chef’s perseverance the only way they know how: with footwear. Even better, Reebok is donating all profits from the shoes to the University of Chicago Medical Center. They’re not the most exciting sneakers you’ve ever seen, but the tongue of the shoe is fascinating: it’s a roadmap of the human tongue with every tastebud region labeled by taste. Is anyone else getting hungry?