Despite just having blogged just yesterday, I couldn't help but put something quick together about a great find called SWIMS.
It was totally by chance I came upon these. I just happened to be walking through the centre city area of The Hague yesterday evening, when I walked by a shop which carries a nice selection of designer footwear. All the shops were already closed since it was about 8pm (stores in the Netherlands only stay open past 6 pm one night a week; you can read more about that here), but there were some items in the window that caught my eye.
I was attracted by the color of both the sky blue shoe and the navy/white/grey spectator-ish shoe. Then I noticed the mixed media on the shoes, with the fabric vamp and the leather keeper, which I found nicely executed.
It wasn't for at least 30 seconds that I realized I wasn't looking at just a driving moc. Those items which I stared at were actually driving moc-inspired water shoes. How ingenious is that? Not only can you wear these all over town if you wanted to, but you could wear them to the beach and right into the ocean! On top of that, it makes a category of footwear that I would normally categorize as… hmm… well…hideous, suddenly seem smart and attractive.
I did some research to find out this brand's story….
The line is called SWIMS and was created by Norwegian footwear designer John Ringdal in 2006, after he graduated from New York's Parsons School of Design. What's interesting is that the product I saw in the window seems to be more of a product extension; the brand was founded on the concept of offering updated, waterproof galoshes.
When Ringdal was growing up, he was passed down a pair of galoshes from his grandfather, which he wore often in the rainy Norway climate. He recalls a time he was in Paris and it started to pour. He used his galoshes to cover his Converse sneakers and had no issue keeping his feet dry. Everyone else on the streets was running through puddles ruining their shoes and getting their feet soaked. That day would later convince him of a void in the market.
Based on a WWD article from early 2010, which included an interview with the designer himself, it mentions about expanding the key product line. So I imagine this collection relates back to that comment. Personally, I find these aqua sock-type shoes to have great appeal and could become extremely commercial if they can figure out a way to get the price down; its $149 or £100 price point isa bit limiting. But for now, the idea is so original, it is worth the money.
You'll be happy to know that you can find SWIMS available at two of the stores in the H2H Online Shopping Mall: Germany-based Zalando and U.S. based Bonobos (men's only). You can also read more about this brand and company.
Below are styles which comprise this tight collection of SWIMS water shoes. You might even say these are modern day boat shoes since they offer non-slip soles. On the left are those from Zalando and on the right are those from Bonobos.