Gilded Steps – Where the Unconventional Meets the Precious

Chase Shiel stands as a trailblazer, seamlessly blending the worlds of custom sneakers and jewellery to create wearable works of art.

Written by Jewellery World

Chase Shiel stands as a trailblazer, seamlessly blending the worlds of custom sneakers and jewellery to create wearable works of art. In a recent interview at the Jewellery Industry Fair, Shiel shared insights into his innovative approach, shedding light on the fusion of craftsmanship and creativity that defines his creations.

Glenfiddich Grand Yuzakura Whisky and shoes | Ari Gelgec
Palloys General Manager, Richard Ashman enjoys the Glenfiddich tasting | Ari Gelgec

“Having that experience with [Glenfiddich], knowing what they’re after, it was a lot easier to come up with a design,” Shiel explained. His collaboration with the whisky brand provided a platform to explore unconventional materials, pushing the boundaries of footwear design. Drawing inspiration from Glenfiddich’s packaging, Shiel meticulously crafted designs that echoed its essence. “It was very necessary to include the cherry blossom,” he said, emphasising the subtle yet impactful elements that tie back to the bottle and box.

Central to Shiel’s vision was the integration of precious metals, a daring move that challenged conventional notions of footwear design. Collaborating with Palloys, Shiel embarked on an ambitious endeavour to adorn his sneakers with gold—an idea that initially seemed outlandish yet ultimately proved transformative. “It was like, ‘Yeah, what can we do?’ Putting gold on a shoe seemed so out there,” Shiel recalled. The process required meticulous planning to ensure both aesthetics and functionality. “It was trying to work out… how are we going to put this onto the shoe, make it look like it works? And then how is it actually going to stay on the shoe?” he elaborated.

Attendees inspect Shiel's latest design | Ari Gelgec
Gold elements detail the sneakers | Ari Gelgec

Shiel’s approach epitomises the need to think outside the box with precious metals beyond traditional jewellery applications. By embracing unconventional materials and techniques, Shiel challenges industry norms, opening new avenues for creative expression. “It’s really like a statement piece of seeing what is possible when you mix two different art forms into it,” he remarked, highlighting the transformative power of artistic fusion.

Practicality and wearability are paramount considerations in Shiel’s design process, particularly when incorporating precious metals like gold. “It’s being really focused on placing the stars to make sure you just don’t put it in the classic crease mark at the flat,” he explained. Thoughtful placement of design elements ensures that Shiel’s creations remain not only visually striking but also comfortable and functional.

Chase Shiel talks all things sneaker design at the whisky tasting | Ari Gelgec
The $16,000 sneakers are displayed proudly by Palloys | Ari Gelgec

The market reception of Shiel’s custom sneaker creations has been overwhelmingly positive, with discerning buyers recognising the unique blend of luxury and innovation they represent. Priced at $16,000 per pair and accompanied by a Glenfiddich whisky bottle, these sneakers serve as coveted collector’s items, embodying the epitome of luxury craftsmanship.

Looking ahead, Shiel envisions a future filled with endless possibilities for the intersection of custom sneakers and jewellery designs. “I’m hoping to get more opportunities to work with jewellery in the future,” he expressed. With upcoming projects and hinting more work in the precious metals sector, Shiel remains committed to pushing boundaries and exploring new artistic horizons. As he continues to bridge the gap between jewellery and footwear, Shiel’s creations serve as a testament to the transformative power of artistic fusion.

Chase Shiel’s journey exemplifies the potential for creativity and innovation when precious metals meet footwear design. Through his daring designs and meticulous craftsmanship, Shiel invites us to reimagine footwear as more than mere accessories but rather as wearable expressions of artistry, proving that it’s indeed time to think outside the box with precious metals beyond traditional jewellery.

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