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Of Course This Is the One Celebrity Who Can Pull Off the Viral Astro Boy Boots


Across social media, these cartoonishly large red boots have been inescapable. While some were sort of anticipating these as part of a large announcement, I didn’t catch them until the memes started to appear. These clunky, bright red shoes look like someone is stepping out of Toontown, with their boots remaining animated. While I call them Astroboy boots and others call them Boots’ boots (from Dora the Explorer), the creators, MSCHF, named them Big Red Boots or BRB.

MSCHF is an art collective known for its wild drops that are sometimes physical art and other times performances or simulations. Many people have heard of at least one of their drops, even if they don’t know the creators. From their various blurry money drops to the more recent WD-40 cologne (yes, like for cars), MSCHF lives by virality and hype. Lil Nas X introduced the Brooklyn-based group to me when he dropped his very litigious collab Satan Sneakers. (Turns out they were a sequel to the Jesus Shoes.) Except for their very popular Booster Packs (which feature random cards, from real IDs to tickets and membership cards), most drops are harmless and prompt interesting questions about art and the world. These red boots are the 90th drop from the group.

Why BRB?

There are lots of artists, critics, and historians already dissecting the fascination with these boots. I personally can’t wait to see what art historian and longtime museum professional Seema Rao has to say about this in the upcoming weeks. While many MSCHF drops would be ogled over regardless, these feel different to many.

@thealgorythm Kim Kardashian’s prairie shoot and the big red boots have a lot in common ? “If you kick someone with these, they go BOING”. Diving deep into the intersection between fashion and the AI revolution to find the real reason behind these boot’s virality (besides the influencer campaign ofc). ☕️ Here’s my cloudwear video in response to Prada’s puffification @thealgorythm ♬ original sound – The algorythm

See the TikTok here.

Tech and fashion commentary TikToker Agus Panzoni sees the BRBs as part of a larger trend in fashion that is reflective of a world that’s reacting to the blurring of reality and fiction. This has been a point of discussion for decades and has ramped up over the last 20 years. However, between AI, deepfakes, and a generation that grew up influenced by social media algorithms, this could be a new shift.

To return to Astroboy for a second, this anime comes from a manga born in post-WW2 Japan. Many artists found unique ways to process and respond to the devastation left behind in the war and the rapid rebuilding of Japan. This has provided the basis and undertones for many popular anime and manga. The futuristic explorations of humanity, grief, and destruction, in works from Astroboy to Ghost in the Shell, have been highly influential worldwide.

Who wore them best?

Maybe it’s their short stature, the fact that they look good in almost anything, or their decades-long contribution to Afrofuturism? Maybe it’s Maybelline (even though they were a Cover Girl), but singer/songwriter/actress Janelle Monáe seems to be one of the few people capable of pulling off these boots.

They don’t just look great in them for styling purposes. Apparently, Monáe can also train in them, too? They’ve shared a short video practicing basketball in the firetruck-red boots in training for the NBA Celebrity Game. You can almost see the thrusters under the boot. I really need someone to animate Monáe, propelling from one side of the court to another, flying through the air like Michael Jordan in Space Jam.

Almost equally as fashionable as the Jane 57821 is the actress Miho Fuji, who was a decade ahead of this trend, and the always fashionable-no-matter-what stylist Wisdom Kaye.

Have you seen anyone else (seriously) pull them off? Let us know in the comments.

(featured image: Sony)

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(she/her) Award-winning artist and blogger with experience and education in graphic design, art history, and museum studies. This resident of the yeeHaw land spends most of her time watching movies, reading and playing the same handful of video games—even as the playtime on Steam reaches the quadruple digits. Currently playing: Balder's Gate 3, Apex Legends, and CS:GO.