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Thursday, July 15, 2010

bensimon love

You might be pleased to know that sitting comfortably beside the Manolo’s and Louboutin’s is another shoe that is equally hot right now and a darn side more accessible for everyday folk. Enter the bensimon tennis shoe. This is not a brand new shoe; the thoroughly French sneaker created by style guru Serge Bensimon has been walking amongst us for the past 25 years. So relaxed, laid back and worn in are these shoes that you wouldn’t give them a second look. And therein lays the appeal. Chic and effortless, they were marketed as the disposable shoe for French women in the 1970’s.

Even the rich and famous liked the idea of a cheap and cheerful trainer. Bensimon were the casual shoe of choice for oh-so-cool-without-trying women like Jane Birkin below (of Hermes Birkin bag fame) Princess Diana and even our own Naomi.

effortless chic by Jane Birkin in bensimon (and that bag Hermes named after her!) via

So how did this humble canvas knock about become a cult phenomenon in the bottom of the wardrobe? The cynic in me says a big marketing budget but I’m not sure it was that deliberate. Sure, being on the feet of a beautiful model or famous movie star doesn’t hurt. And the scarcity factor outside of France (read limited supply) is just plain economics – the full 21 colour range has only recently become available in the US. But how do they feel?

My own 9 year old son (this is a true story) took a very sudden liking to a pair of bensimon sneakers about 12 months ago at Tree in Flinders. He insisted the laceless, slip on variety were awesome and low and behold a child who had thus far been impossible to find appropriate shoes for, wore nothing else on his feet for the next 9 months straight. In the end what was left of the rubber soles (very little!) had to be surgically removed from the sole of each foot – and disposed of appropriately. So there is truth in the notion of disposable shoes, not sure this is what they meant.

Ok so maybe the bensimon “it” factor has nothing to do with smoke and mirrors marketing, celebrity endorsements or shortage of places to buy. Maybe they are just plain comfortable, look so damn cool and work equally well with jeans and an oversized cardy on a cold day or a trench and a floral dress when spring arrives.

image via bohemia life

Manon Bis at 568 Malvern Rd Hawksburn are the largest stockists of bensimon in Melbourne. They are kindly giving away 2 pairs of the classic tennis shoe rrp$65 to a couple of lucky snippets blog readers. For a chance to win email and tell us why you love this chic French trainer. Remember to include your phone number. Two winners will be announced here on Thursday 29th July.

(ENTRY POSTED 29/7/10 10.33 PM Winners were Shoshi Vorchheimer & Cindy Asp - congrats!!)

P.S. clever alliances with other iconic brands like liberty (below) always helps bolster popularity. Look at these limited edition babies! Get the liberty version at Manon Bis also.

Want to know more about the shoe of the moment ...

Check out the official bensimon website

Blog by US based bensimon groupies

Online shop with HUGE range of bensimon stuff

Funny blog post by American girl in france who eventually learned to love the ugliest tennis shoes she’d ever seen!


  1. large range of bensimon women's & kids shoes here:

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  3. HI
    nice and useful! i would like to say thank you about this cool post & your Decent a site….
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