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The North Face's Unexpected New Collab Will Never See the Light of Day

The brand's newest footwear design — a leather loafer made with Paraboot — is limited to just 30 pairs, and they'll never be available to the public.

paraboot tnf

If a brand teases a product, it's typically bound to come out. They wouldn't build the hype for no reason. Paraboot, however, has joined the ranks of high-fashion brands like Balenciaga and YZY (yuck) in practicing the fine art of Promoting Products That You'll Never Be Able to Buy™.

When the brand announced its latest collab, a leather loafer that emulates The North Face's Thermoball Traction V Mule, fans of both brands were, well, excited, even if outsiders didn't quite get it. But their excitement dampened fast as they read further into the footwear release: Limited to just 30 pairs, the shoes will never be available to the public. Instead, they're being gifted to friends of both brands in exchange for content — celebrity photographer Griffin Lipson, for example, got a pair "to capture the essence and inspiration of the mule through his personal exploration," The North Face says.

For Paraboot, makers of fancier, more refined footwear than puffer slippers, this collab is about the "coexistence of comfort and style," a release reads.

north face x paraboot
The new shoe combines features from both brands’ previous footwear releases.

"The Mule is inspired by the two brands iconic designs, with Paraboot’s handcrafted rubber sole and Norwegian welt construction and a nod to The North Face Thermoball Traction V Mule born at the basecamp," it continues. "We've taken the beloved mule and made it more functional and ready for everyday wear by incorporating the hand-crafted vulcanized rubber outsole, resole-able outsole, matelassé full grain leather construction and a soft elastic collar for ease of entry and comfort."

Truthfully, while there are plenty of folks opposed to the release out there, they don't look bad. They might even, I'd argue, look natural. The leather resembles the soft puffer fabric used on the originals and the entire thing isn't that much of a deviation from Paraboot's usual fashion persona, which is rooted in tradition but capable of adaptation.

So, will these slip-on shoes ever actually come out? Maybe, but probably not. But maybe. My minor conspiracy theory is that they will eventually drop, but likely not until next year. When asked why they were a limited-edition release, Paraboot's response was... 😏.

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