Object Lesson: Split Decision

Designer Yasuhiro Mihara meets us in the middle with a brave new take on a classic shoe. by Jonathan Forgang
Few things with the exception of cars and dry cleaners inspire so much loyalty as a favorite sneaker design. Given the deep devotion many of us hold for the classics—Vans chukkas, the Samba, Nike Air Force 1s, and Reebok Freestyles come to mind—it's no wonder it's so tough for designers to supplant the old-school favorites with something truly new. Being a realist, designer Yasuhiro Mihara decided to split the difference and include half of a shoe inspired by the Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star in his latest trainer creation.
Mihara began designing sneakers in 1994 as a student at Tama Art University and started his shoe label, MiharaYasuhiro, in 1997. His first store, Suso, opened in Tokyo in 1998, and carried his own experimental and futuristic clothes, but his main interest has always been steeped in athletic footwear. He collaborates on designs with Puma, but the Split sneaker—from his own collection—finds him reinventing the most classic of all athletic shoes. This uncommon new trainer is composed of half-black Converse All-Star-style shoe and half-silver shoe, both fused with a continuous sole. From the front, the shoe resembles the billions of other Chucks you've seen. But from the rear it transforms into a space-age bowling-style shoe—perhaps conceived for a sport that hasn't yet even been dreamed of.
The Split sneaker by MiharaYasuhiro, $450 is available at Atelier New York, 125 Crosby Street; www.ateliernewyork.com
Designer Yasuhiro Mihara meets us in the middle with a brave new take on a classic shoe.