Glenfiddich launches $1600 sneakers

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Glenfiddich launches $1600 sneakers

Scottish whisky distillery Glenfiddich has teamed up with Melbourne artist Chase Shiel to make a pair of sneakers to match their new smooth single-malt matured for 23 years, the Grand Cru.

23 pairs of the shoes will be made and are set to cost $1650 and will come with a bottle of Grand Cru and two crystal coupette glasses.

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From AFR 20.09.21

In things you never knew you needed until today: whisky sneakers. Or, more specifically, sneakers created in a collaboration between Glenfiddich and Melbourne-based artist Chase Shiel in honour of the renowned Scottish distillery’s latest release, Grand Cru, a smooth single-malt matured for 23 years and finished in French cuvée oak casks.Only, you’ll need be quick. There are just 23 pairs.

The limited-edition footwear comes in the same black and gold palette used for the Cru packaging, with details inspired by the experience of drinking the whisky – the look, the aromas, the flavours, the mouth feel.

Aged diesel leather accents on the toe bumper, eyelet panels, wings and heel along with rich nubuck provide the unique aromatic signature that only comes from high-grade leathers, reminiscent of the whisky flavour experience. Gold stitching, including the Glenfiddich stag, finishes the concept with panache.

“The design was all about complementing the Grand Cru,” explains Shiel, who had been customising sneakers for over a decade before formalising his training at RMIT. After graduating, he ventured into more traditional men’s footwear before realising his true passion was deconstructing and reconstructing sneakers to create wearable art.

Glenfiddich launches $1600 sneakers2
Melbourne-based artist Chase Shiel in his studio in Kensington, Melbourne, during the design phase.  

Glenfiddich presented a unique challenge, he says. “It was essential to keep the black and gold colours and incorporate particular bottle and packaging design aspects. I had actually finished constructing the upper, but I was missing that final spark. That’s where the mid-sections explosion was added – 15,000 embroidered gold stitches. When that was finalised, and I could see the result, it really was a celebration.”

Whisky connoisseurs might sniff at the idea of pairing a single malt with streetwear, but Ross Blainey, Glenfiddich brand ambassador for Australia and New Zealand, says the collaboration is based on the simplest of principles – desire.

Glenfiddich launches $1600 sneakers3
Chase Shiel making the exclusive sneakers by hand. The mid-section contains 15,000 embroidered gold stitches. 

“Whisky and sneakers start off being created with a true function and purpose,” he says. “You wear sneakers, and you drink whisky.

“But any lover of either will tell you they are so much more than that. Over the years, they have both been elevated to become works of art. But unlike a rare painting, you have a decision to make when you buy a whisky or a pair of sneakers.Do you use them as intended, knowing that they will not last forever? Or do you keep them on your shelf to admire but never get to enjoy them fully?

“As a lover of both [whisky and sneakers], I know that can be a tough decision.”

The Glenfiddich x Shiel sneakers, priced at $1650 and available only through the distiller’s Australian Instagram page, come with a bottle of Grand Cru and two crystal coupette glasses. All proceeds will be donated to a charity of Shiel’s choice.

And if you’re not quick enough to grab one of the 23 pairs, you can always commission Shiel to create a customised pair for the “Grand Cru Experience” in your own life.

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