The 'Backwards Shoe' Is MSCHF's Latest Cartoonish Footwear Design

MSCHF, the creator of the cartoon-style Big Red Boot, is at it again. This time the brand, which has also released a Walking Boot modeled after the black and white orthopedic boots commonly worn by foot and ankle injury patients, has come out with a backward shoe design. The strange open-top chunky sneaker, called the BWD Shoe, launched on April 11, 2023, and can be worn forward or backward. Why exactly would you want a sneaker that is open on top to ensure that it can be worn backward? According to MSCHF, it's all in the name of art.


The unique design sold out just a few days after its initial launch, but if you fell in love with the Big Red Boot or simply love to embrace the wacky and weird, you can sign up to be notified by MSCHF about when the BWD Shoe, which retails for $135, becomes available again. In the meantime, here's everything you might want to know about the world's reception of this one-of-a-kind shoe design. 

Marketing and early reviews

It's easy to see why the head-turning shoe sold out shortly after its launch when you look at the fine print. The launch was only scheduled to last for an hour on both the brand's website and its exclusive mobile sneaker app. Typically, this strategy is employed by brands looking to create exclusivity around their products. This approach seemed to work for MSCHF, as the BWD Shoe is selling for over $700 on the resale site StockX.


Before the BWD Shoe launched, it was spotted being worn by celebrities like Donald Glover. Since its release date, very few reviews have surfaced online. We were only able to find one on YouTube, by user Steve Natto Sneaker Reviews. While the review wasn't negative, it did depict the shoes as more of a wearable novelty item than a functional one. Given the sneaker's design and the company's marketing as an art brand, this shouldn't really come as a surprise. 

Copying controversy

While it may seem fairly unbelievable that even one person would have the idea to create a shoe that can be worn both backward and forward, apparently at least one small artist is claiming that the design idea for the BWD Shoe is actually hers. Indie artist Gabriella Pfeifer posted a video on Instagram of a sneaker prototype she claims to have created in 2018. Pfeifer, a small designer with just over 1,400 followers, has accused MSCHF of copying and essentially stealing her shoe design.


Despite being tagged in the comments of Pfeifer's post dozens of times, there hasn't yet been any apparent response from MSCHF regarding the allegation. Whether this is simply a case of two designers having the same unconventional idea or something sketchier, it's worth considering before you get on the waiting list for this new shoe release, especially if you happen to be a small artist yourself. On the other hand, if you're just in it for the unique shoe aesthetic, you go on and do you.