All about revolutionary fashion label Balenciaga: what does Balenciaga mean, where is it made, how does Balenciaga fit, and how much are Balenciaga shoes?
French fashion house Balenciaga needs no introduction. For years, Balenciaga has been one of the hottest brands in the fashion world, loved (and hated) by many: we dare you to find someone who doesn’t have a strong opinion on the chunky Balenciaga Triple S sneakers (below), the sleek Speed sneakers, or the “ugly” platform Crocs.
Over the years, Balenciaga has not only created new trends, but, in the words of fashion researcher Joelle Firzli, “[pushed] the rules to the extreme and [played] on the borderline of what is considered beautiful […] Ultimately, you don’t have to like it or wear it. Not everybody will wear the Balenciaga crocs […] What is relevant is that we all react to it. Ugliness in fashion makes fashion relevant.”
So how much are Balenciaga shoes, when was the revolutionary fashion label born, and what does Balenciaga mean?
Balenciaga: the origins
Balenciaga was created in 1917, as the eponymous label of Spanish designer Cristóbal Balenciaga. Cristóbal opened his first boutique in the Spanish town of San Sebastián, but was forced to relocate to Paris because of the Spanish Civil War. There he had his first fashion show, with a line inspired by the Spanish Renaissance.
Balenciaga’s unconventional designs were deemed revolutionary, and customers even risked traveling to France during World War II to buy them. In contrast with Christian Dior’s iconic hourglass shape, Balenciaga’s vision was to free women’s bodies from constrictions: the Spanish designer created a new, fluid silhouette, revolutionizing the concept of femininity.
Balenciaga’s unmatched talent, masterful tailoring, and anti-conventionalist style earned him great respect and admiration among his colleagues: Christian Dior referred to him as “the master of us all”, and Hubert de Givenchy called him “the architect of haute couture”.
In 2021, under Creative Director Demna Gvasalia, Balenciaga took a step back and returned to its origins, debuting with its first haute couture collection in 53 years (pictured above).
Where is Balenciaga made?
For decades, Balenciaga has prided itself on being made in Italy, with some pieces also made in France.
In 2018, however, the production of the Triple S sneaker, a street-style favorite, was moved to China. This immediately sparked a controversy. The general perception is that items produced in China are of lower quality, but Balenciaga explained that “the manufacturer of the shoe was moved to China [because] they have a savoir-faire and capacities to produce a lighter shoe”.
Don’t let this alarm you: Balenciaga is not saying arrivederci to Italy! Quite the opposite. In 2020, the fashion house, owned by Kering group, announced they will be opening their first leather goods production plant in Italy.
The factory will be located in Cerreto Guidi, a town west of Florence, and will allow an expansion of Balenciaga’s accessories production. “The future opening of this new production unit will create up to 300 jobs,” said the brand, “mainly from the local and regional community and with a particular focus on the unemployed.” The employees will be offered training in the internal training center.
How do Balenciaga sneakers fit?
Aside from how much are Balenciaga shoes, do Balenciagas run big or small?
Here’s everything you need to know about Balenciaga shoe sizing.
- Balenciaga uses European sizing.
- Balenciaga sneakers come in whole sizes: men’s EU 39 to EU 47 (US 6 to US 14) and women’s EU 34 to EU 42 (US 4 to US 12).
- Balenciaga oversized sneakers (such as the Triple S) tend to fit a little larger than usual. If you’re in between sizes, we recommend going down a size.
- Balenciaga Speed sneakers fit just like socks: comfortable, and snug. If you have wide feet and are in between sizes, you might need to go up one size. Otherwise, go for your normal size.
- If you’re still unsure about which size to go for, read our shoe size conversion article.
How much are Balenciaga shoes and why?
Balenciaga charges up to $3,250 for a pair of shoes: the 3D 110MM Pump, made in 3D printed rubber are the French label’s most expensive model, while the Pool Slide Sandals (which retail on the brand’s website for $325) are the cheapest.
What are the reasons behind these crazy price tags? It comes down to a few simple factors.
Here’s why Balenciaga is so expensive:
- Most Balenciaga products are made in Italy, where the brand is soon opening a new factory, training its employees, and offering workers a fair, livable wage. The Triple S and Track sneakers are the only models to be made in China, using lighter, more expensive soles.
- Balenciaga only uses the finest materials and the most innovative technologies, such as 3D printed rubber, 3D knit, and rubber with “No Memory” technology.
- Balenciaga is comfortable! Despite the size, the iconic chunky sneakers are light on the feet, and the Speed sneakers fit just like a pair of socks: the memory foam sole provides extra cushioning and adapts itself to the shape of the feet.
- Balenciaga is a luxury status symbol. When you buy Balenciaga, you’re buying exclusivity. And that comes with a higher price tag!
Luckily, we consistently have the best pricing on the market!