The question remains: do these shoes allow you to walk on water?
Nicole Buckler investigates.
Neon Apostle is the first footwear company in the world to combine functionality, faith and footwear. Their Christian-themed designer shoes feature cutting-edge graphics. Like, for example, the plasma of Jesus (which is a little gruesome) and the religious art of the Renaissance, which is reminiscent of a walking tour of Florence and is actually quite nice.
While religion has been busy falling out of fashion lately, and dividing humans along geographical lines across the world, shoe company Neon Apostle is going in the other direction. The company wants to make some money selling self-expression. So if you want to make your religious beliefs clear to the world around you, you can. Good luck with that in this environment of easily-offended people.
“NBA superstar and former 2-time season MVP Stephen Curry is a hero of mine,” says Kenneth Yu, founder of Neon Apostle. “So when he started to draw Bible verses on his shoe, I came to realise that Christian-themed shoes are a valid expression of my faith. That was the spark that nudged me towards starting this faith-based streetwear brand for the millennial segment of Christianity.”
Umm. That famous basketball player, Stephen Curry? He is an investor in Active Faith, a Christian sports apparel brand. So this puts Neon Apostle in direct competition with the very hero that inspired them. Okay. Let’s pray.
Neon Apostle says there’s been a tremendous response to the shoe lines so far, with “thousands of social media shares and interest across the globe from countries including the USA, UK, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Neon Apostle has definitely tapped into a zeitgeist for this current generation who are increasingly integrating their everyday faith into every aspect of their lives.”
Well actually, the truth will set you free. Every statistic in the world shows that interest in every faith is collapsing, especially within the ranks of young people, who are the most irreligious generation ever. And this is a global phenomenon, across all religions. But, God loves a tryer, after all.
One thing is promising: niche markets can be more successful than mainstream brands. A 2016 survey by Ypulse, a youth marketing and millennial research firm, found that expressing individuality was more important to people ages 13 to 34 than flashing high-end brand names. But some young people are still hanging on to their faith by their fingernails, and these are the people that Neon Apostle want to grab. They want to convince this demographic to express their closest-held beliefs through their footwear. So if your kid is a born-again, then this is the shoe for them. It would even be reasonable to expect them to take their shoes off and use them to hit vampires and demons, should the need arise.
The Singapore-based e-commerce company say they aim to “give the church a leg-up in terms of expressing their faith in trendy and innovative ways.”
Says Yu, “I’ve always been both a Christian and a sneaker-head. As a fashion writer in my young adult years, I still have several sneaker magazines on my bookshelf. I wanted to take these two seemingly opposite worlds and combine them into something beautiful. The Christian faith has rich artistic history and stunning symbols. Neon Apostle aims to create new ways of visualising the faith.”
Whether you believe in religion or not, Yu is right about one thing: Beautiful art has always been done in the name of the Gods, be they false or not. Perhaps it is time for some shoes to hit the market that take their designs from the Book of Kells? It has to be said, even the most religion-allergic Irish kid would like the idea.
Neon Apostle is launching a brand new children’s line of shoes this month, so you can indoctrinate your kids into your faith should you be Christian.
Buddhist, Islamic, Jewish and Atheist shoes are probably on their way to market too. Perhaps we should all buy a pair of each and see which fares best while walking on Glendalough? First person to part the water wins.