Neoprene, which was originally called duprene, was the first mass-produced general-purpose synthetic rubber. Commonly used for many things including wetsuits and laptop cases, here are some examples of its application in shoes. I love how different materials can dictate design, and afford new possibilities, resulting in quite original creations. More on Neoprene at Wikipedia.
top to bottom:
Raf Simons neoprene & leather sneaker via upscalehype
Raf Simons f/w 09 collection showed a strong use of neoprene via gq.com
3 heels by Pierre Hardy via emiblake & iwantigot
Lanvin sneaker via slamxhype
Viktor & Rolf neoprene boot via 00o00
Nike Air Rift White via synamatiq
Nike Air Carnivore Retro "Nearly 17 years ago, it was one of the first silhouettes to use the neoprene boot and a series of straps to create a secure fit around the foot" via burnrubberdetroit
via brownsI'm not really the biggest fan of gladiator sandals but I am a fan of simple footwear and raw cut leather, and these are done very nicely. They may not look minimalist but they are simple in their design. There is very little stitching and the laceholes also form the ribcage-like straps. That electric blue is also a spectacular colour for patent leather.
via ysl.comYves Saint Laurent have relaunched their website with some of their designs redone in new materials. I really love this Crocodile embossed suede - shown here in beige on their very popular, thin heeled, covered platform shoe and in grey on their 'Muse' handbag. Texture on texture might seem like overkill but I can't get enough.