By now, you’ve probably seen Balenciaga’s monstrous combat boots. Most famously, the colossal shitkickers were seen on the feet of designer Demna Gvasalia’s male muse, Kanye West, on his way into the brand’s Spring 2023 fashion show. Dubbed the “Steroid Boots,” they’re an extension of Gevasalia’s overall sartorial motif: larger than life.
Gvasalia credits his preference for dressing his models in cartoonishly big-ass fits to his upbringing in Soviet-era Georgia, where he was mostly relegated to wearing hand-me-downs or clothes he could grow into. But with regard to designing gigantic shoes, Gvasalia is seemingly motivated by something more libidinal. To that end, in a 2019 interview with WWD, he explained that visually speaking, he hates to see men with small feet. “A lot of guys don’t like to have small feet,” he argued. “To me, large shoes are more stable, and more masculine.”
Essentially then, Gvasalia has created the footwear equivalent of the joke, “You know what they say about guys with big feet…”
Per a 2013 report in The Atlantic, the penile-foot connection can be traced back to at least the 10th century. It was during that era when a Chinese emperor fell in love with a concubine whose feet were bound up to appear as tiny as possible. “In the 12th century, foot binding had become much more widespread, and by the early Qing Dynasty (in the mid-17th century), every girl who wished to marry had her feet bound,” Wang Ping the author of Aching for Beauty: Footbinding in China told The Atlantic in 2013.
Naturally, if small feet were characterized as being more feminine, big feet came to be considered the opposite. It helps too that, evolutionarily speaking, women prefer tall men. And although foot size and dick size have little to no correlation, foot size and height are positively correlated. (So really, the answer to that classic, “You know what they say about guys with big feet…” should be, “…they’re super tall.”)
There’s honestly not much more to it than that. It’s still, however, not gonna keep Gvasalia from charging around $1,000 a pop for his steroid boots. After all, perception almost always comes at a cost.