Even these days when art galleries and boutique hotels line the Bowery, homeless encampments aren’t hard to find there. But this is a decidedly different type of Camper. As of today, the Spanish shoe brand is selling $285 kicks at the first New York City outpost of CamperLab. The narrow store at 221 Bowery, right next to Bowery Mission, promises cutting-edge designs that aren’t available at Camper’s Soho, World Trade Center and Midtown shops. And we do mean cutting-edge– the soles of the $285 kicks in question were designed to resemble T Rex teeth. You can also get women’s heels that look like they were made from upcycled soft pretzels. Or maybe they were made by a balloon-art clown at a kids’ birthday party.
I shouldn’t poke too much fun– I’ve actually been partial to Camper ever since they stormed the US market in the early aughts with clunky duck-footed shoes that resembled baseball cleats. More recently, they’ve been trying to scientifically engineer a cool orthopedic shoe, which is basically all I ask for in footwear these days. Like the simple leather shoes at Feit across the street, CamperLab offerings are (for the most part) logo-free, so they’re a good way to avoid being a swoosh douche.
CamperLab’s spring/summer line was “inspired by dry mud, hot sand, and arid vegetation,” which is great because desert art is totally in right now.