20 April 2023
Mike Redwood discusses the importance of exciting and trend-setting designs for leather to feature in the top-selling footwear of today, writes Dr Mike Redwood on ILM.
The last couple of weeks have been a story of footwear. Former basketball player Michael Jordan’s “Bred” Air Jordans, worn during Game 2 of the 1998 NBA Finals, sold for a record US$2.2 million at a Sotheby’s Auction. At the other end of the scale, if you follow Lyst’s hotlists, you will know that in the final top 10 for 2022, Crocs from a Salehe Bembury collaboration were featured at prices around US$150 and more, although they are almost impossible to find now. It is not a strong story for leather. The list of materials in the black and red (hence Bred) Air Jordan’s do contain some soft leather and suede but they are alongside a myriad of fossil fuel-derived plastics.
We have seen a certain shift back to leather among the higher value, luxury and replica sneakers. Since many of the plastics used deteriorate after 20 years of standing in the light, as a consequence of additives like softeners leaching out, if you own a valuable non-leather pair for investment purposes, keep them in the dark and as cool as possible.
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