Recently there has been a surging trend in the music world that has many prominent independent and mainstream artists become shoe designers. This is not necessarily a new trend, as fashion and musicians have obviously been intertwined since before any of us were born, but rather a recent phenomenon that shows no sign of slowing down (especially with the holiday season almost upon us).

For Young Moderns is here on Our City Lights to review some of these shoes and see which pair we like best. We aren't rolling in the dough quite yet, we can only judge these shoes based on their appearance alone, but if any of us go on a ridiculous footwear shopping spree anytime soon, we'll be sure to update describing how these shoes actually feel.

First up, Animal Collective's Avey Tare and Geologist:

Animal Collective (Avey Tare)

"Cruelty-free" clothing company Keep has now teamed up with psychedelic pop masterminds Animal Collective both as a, *cough*, collective and as individual artists to design a few different shoes. Below is the shoe called The Tobin designed by singer/multi-instrumentalist Avey Tare. The Tobin definitely has an Animal Collective feel with its casual slip-on style and minimalist psychedelic artwork embracing the top and rear of the shoes. The beige is a bit drab but they were very environmentally-friendly made, which earns bonus points.

Grade: B

Animal Collective (Geologist)

Animal Collective's Geologist's Keep shoe is a bit of a special case since it's a children's shoe. Adults like us can't get in on this shoe, but we do like it a bit more than Avey Tare's The Tobin. The darker beige looks good with the shark imagery on the back of it. Kids love sharks, right? Which kid wouldn't be into this kind of shoe? 

Grade: A-


No Age

Blissed-out Los Angeles noise punks No Age recently put out Everything In Between, one of 2010's finest albums, and they recently also designed this vegan shoe for Emerica. Juding from personal experience, Emerica shoes have never stood the test of time very well and these Chuck Taylor-a-likes look like they wouldn't fare much better. There's not much going on here with all the blackness (aside from their current red/yellow/blue logo) and the best feature is obviously the sole, which means each shoe will look great laying on the floor of your room when kicked on its side. It finely capture No Age's punk spirit, but not much inspiration.

Grade: C+



Classic Vans. Classic black and white. Classic "Death to the Pixies" logo. What's not to like on either of these shoes? These have felt like good times to sport high-tops recently, so we'd go with the high tops over the slip-ons (even though we do like the image facing up on the slip-on), but that's just us. You can't go wrong with a naked Frank Black on your shoes. This classic shoe from a classic band is a match made in shoe heaven.

Grade for high top: A+

Grade for slip on: A


Holy Yellow Submarine!! Good luck finding clothes to match with these wacky shoes designed by folky wayfarers Danielson. The colors go very well together, but it seems like you'd to to have to have some ridiculous vanity suit to go along with them. Is it just me or do these shoes scream Mad Magazine for some reason? I don't know what that's about.

Grade: B-


Kanye West

Well, the Louis Vuitton Don himself designed some Louis Vuittons, which was the least surprising development in the world, and also some Nike Air Yeezys. The Vuittons have a retail price of about $500, so you better be prepared to handle that pink and grey. The Nike shoes have a vintage hint with its almost sepia coloring. Either way, you're going to be forking over a ton of money for some shoes you'll be desperate for many people to recognize. Is it worth it?

Louis Vuitton Grade: B

Nike Air Yeezy Grade: B+


The Magnetic Fields

Stephin Merritt, The widely proclaimed "most depressed man in rock", designed this pair of dress shoes a little while back. The blue and black is a great touch and always a solid combination, but these clown shoes are about as miserable looking as Merritt is depressed. Does anybody really have feet that long and thin?

Grade: D


Okay, so near-legendary music blog/record label/ever-present Los Angeles scene pariah Buddyhead is not exactly a band, but they deserve to be on here anyway. Travis Keller designed a pair of skate shoes for DVS and they're pretty much what you'd expect from Buddyhead. Dark, sexy colors: the "red and black attack" (see: Icarus Line). The backwards gun logo. A low price of $55. These babes are sold out now but it's kind of awesome to know that music blogs are putting out shoes now.

Grade: A-


Alkaline Trio

Buddyhead's simple red and black DVS shoes got it right by keeping things simple, but we're not liking what we see from these Alkaline Trio shoes. They look like they might be a bit more comfortable than Buddyhead's but the red stitching screams generic skate shoe. They might look better with simple solid black stitching and less blotches of white near the top. It feels like I've seen similar skate shoes done better (like the Buddyhead shoes). Alkaline Trio is still great, though.

Grade: C

Dizzee Rascal

British rapper Dizzee Rascal designed these Nike Air Max shoes and they look very much out of your dad's closet in the 80's. That's not a bad thing. They look very much like classic Air Max shoes even if all the beige has that vintage British blandness. Not something that begs to be bought right away, but Air Max aficionados are probably pretty stoked about these.

Grade: C+


Where the Wild Things Are

For Young Moderns writer Will Sellers has owned a pair of these Lakai's Where the Wild Things Are shoes since about a year before the film came out last year. It can be reported that these are some extremely comfortable shoes with a great design featuring a Wild Thing image on one side and an image of a wild thing paw on the sole of the shoe. The only concern with these shoes anymore are the occasional scoffs they get from people thinking the movie wasn't very good. Oh well.

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