Orange Crocs are ugly as sin, but they’re also synonymous with Mario Batali. Now, footwear brands are exploring what happens when they design shoes for the food and beverage industry that aren’t totally hideous. Earlier this month, Vans accounced a sneaker for chefs co-designed with Tyler Kord of No. 7 Subs, which follow the “Black Crab” shoe created for Canadian chef Chris Hughes. And tomorrow, L.A. label Generic Surplus releases its collab with Cutty Sark Prohibition Edition whiskey: a black leather hi-top for bartenders, brown-spirits lovers, and other people who frequently find themselves surrounded by booze and sticky floors.
Generic Surplus—which has previously worked on Shepard Fairey’s OBEY line—designed the kicks after getting input from experienced barkeeps including Robert Krueger (Extra Fancy in Brooklyn), Sean Kenyon (Williams & Graham in Denver, CO), and Jason Littrell (Death & Co in New York City). The shoe is super-cushioned to mitigate the effects of being on your feet all night, and black so it doesn’t stain. It’s also equipped with water-resistant leather that wipes clean and can handle spillage, as well as a non-slip sole so you don’t stack it every time you step on a lime twist.
The shoe looks slick (don’t forget these people work for tips) and understated, with minimal off-white and yellow accents and a subtle Cutty Sark Clipper embossed on the tongue—because a bartender wearing an obvious whiskey logo would be weird, right?
We’re not sure if these are actually aimed at working barstaff, or if they’re an attempt to market the sexy-cool idea of a bartender to the rest of us, for which we can thank 1980s Tom Cruise and Thrillist’s Hot Bartender Olympics. Either way, it’s a nice-looking sneaker. Starting tomorrow (November 4), you can pick up a pair for $150 at KITH in New York, or online at GenericSurplus.com.
Check out some more glamor shots below. The big question is where these fall in the pantheon of all-time great pub shoes.