For $110 bucks you can buy your own pair of Momofuku-inspired sneakers, or Momoshoekus as Atlanta Journal Constitution reporter Amanda Coyne calls them. The limited edition kicks, released on Thurs. June 22, are black high tops embroidered with Momofuku owner David Chang's signature Lucky Peach logo and the numbers "163" and "207" on the sock liners — the addresses of the original Noodle Bar location and Ssam Bar in New York City.
missed opportunity to call it the Momoshoeku tbh— Amanda Coyne (@AmandaCCoyne) June 15, 2017
"This is all so crazy!" Chang told Eater when the news was released last week.
Indeed it is. As I opined on Twitter, to me the shoes reek of food fetishism. They're like a Boy Scouts badge for culinary coolness — another piece of merch in a celebuchef's arsenal.
But a cheffy shoe is hardly a new concept.
As Leon's and Little Jack's restaurateur Brooks Reitz noted, "This isn't the first restaurant/shoe collab. Prob won't be the last!"
He's right. In 2014 Vans superfan Chef Tyler Kord emailed the company asking them to make a Vans hybrid with non-slip tread. Six years later, the company did, crafting a special No. 7 Vans Classic Slip-On (named after Kord's beloved No. 7 sub). Vans did it again two years later with a six-piece kitchen-shoe collaboration with Los Angeles chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo. The sneaks were designed to be water resistant with strong arch supports for kitchen staffers' long days on their feet. Chef Eddie Huang, owner of New York's BaoHaus and a Gua-Bao, also got his own kicks from Adidas in '16. The two piece collection was called "Huang's World" and included Superstar 80s — a kitchen shoe — and Adidas Adilette slide sandles for after work.
So Nike's foray into the chef shoe world really isn't breaking new ground, but I'd argue in Chang's situation, the shoes are geared more toward the consumer than the kitchen staff — aspirational dining just reached new sartorial heights.
And if the initial reactions to the shoes are any indication, Chang's onto something. Eater's Editor at Large Helen Rosner tweeted, "I hate how much I kind of want these." Reitz said as much himself: "I wouldn't mind rocking those Chang Nike's."
So if foodie footwear is the new avocado toast, we should probably expect local places to hop on the hightop bandwagon. But don't sweat it, restaurants, we've already done the R&D for you. Allow us to present our inaugural line of local restaurant sneaks and the artists' thought processes behind them.
Timothy Banks: Leon's Chicken & Oysters
- Tim Banks
The Oyster-Cluck King EXL BatterFried Street Shoe (Leon's Special Edition). As a foodie and recalcitrant hipster, city streets can "shuck." So when times are tough in the ol' Holy City, you need a shoe that gives you the style and comfort to walk, as well as the ability to slice open a delicious oyster. Well, presto! Now, you can have your chicken and eat it too (if dietary needs require). The Leon's Special Edition Oyster-Cluck King EXL BatterFried Street Shoe (the OCK-EXL-BFS for short) envelopes each foot with tasty oysters, greens, feathers, and one GMO-free range, mutated chicken. Every stitch is threaded with care and can be easily removed and melted down to serve as a tasty lemon beurre sauce. Tired of slogging through Upper King? Well, just prod the shoes and let your chicken friends take over and run you straight to Leon's Oyster and Poultry Shop (other locations prohibited). And this last bit is special, attached to each shoe is an emergency shucking knife! Not for you of course. It's for a friend or stranger who actually knows how to slice open that stubborn oyster. Style, Comfort, Chicken Feet — slip on a pair of the OCK-EXL-BFSs for yourself today!
Baird Hoffmire: Xiao Bao Biscuit
- Baird Hoffmire
I was stoked to get Xiao Bao Biscuit as my restaurant to collaborate with. Not only am I familiar with them, but I really enjoy their food and generally the whole experience of dining there. They are funky and eclectic. XBB's dishes are often intense in flavor as well as in a visual sense. I wanted to try to emulate this experience and maybe even push it over the top in a playful way. A dragon immediately came to mind. We are talking about an Asian restaurant after all ... and who doesn't love dragons? I went to their website just to get some more inspiration on design and saw they had a Monkey King T-shirt available. A mythological hero is always a good thing in my book, and in this case his quirky and humorous persona fit perfectly. I snagged their logo and that completed the whole package. It was a fun little project, much like eating at Xiao Bao Biscuit!
Sam Sidney: D'Al's
- Sam Sidney
What do pizza toppings and sneakers have in common? Both totally unique and reflect your personality. Are you classic? Like a margherita pizza, a pair of Stan Smiths. A little funky? Hawaiian pizza, a pair of leopard sneakers (like me).
Maria Fabrizio: Lewis Barbecue
- Maria Fabrizio
Created in a stunning charcoal black water resistant fabric, these sneakers are perfect for the hardworking pitmaster. These kicks feature no laces, only fire-shaped velcro, because saucey fingers and laces do not mix. The velcro strap is outfitted with flame resistant and fire inspired design. Each shoe has a custom interior meat image, so the soles (souls) of the human feet feel fully connected to the delicious meats being served. The stitching of the sneakers is created to be highly visible, resembling cuts of meat, and the tongue of the shoe features Lewis' tiny signature horseshoe.
Tom Galmarini: Halls Chophouse
- Tom Galmarini
Introducing the ultimate shoe for every warm-blooded, cow-loving human. The Bessie. Got that insatiable taste for cow? No problem! The Bessie will meet your needs, whether it's smell or taste.
A revolutionary design brings all the amenities of a traditional sneaker but adds every essential for the steak lover.
Years in the making, every detail was thoughtfully planned and developed. Whether a hip, elegant night on the town or just grillin' in the backyard, this revolutionary shoe will meet your every need.
The upper is made of 100% USDA cow (leather). The graphics are what truly set this animal apart. Fun, quirky, yet fashionably hip make this the go-to for your every appetite.
The insole has been designed with cow fat for the ultimate cushioned ride. Are you craving steak? Scratch the tenderloin on the side of the shoe and let your nostrils be taken to heaven with a glorious smell of perfectly marinated ribeye. Hungry? No problem. The tongue has you covered with 100% USDA prime rib. Take off the shoe and take a bite. The outsole uses an articulated rib design across the shoe for a balanced ride. Just Moo It.