May 30, 2023

‘It’s-a my boots’

Happy National Mario Day to all who celebrate! In honor of the legendary cartoon plumber, Nintendo partnered with Minnesota-based Red Wing Shoe Co. to design a physical pair of his iconic work boots, now on display at the Nintendo New York store.


Heritage manufacturer Red Wing brought the shoes to life through what it calls a “pixel for stitch” re-creation process. In a video on Red Wing’s site, you can watch a cobbler craft the boots from start to finish. They’re made from genuine leather, include a reinforced toe box (helpful for stomping Goombas), and a heel pad constructed with mushroom-infused materials.

[Photo: Red Wing]

All in all, they look like a pretty high-quality pair of boots. Stylish and versatile, made for walking, vaulting off mushrooms—or rescuing your betrothed from an evil anthropomorphic turtle. Wahoo!

[Image: Universal Studios]

Nintendo’s sartorial stunt (part of a marketing push for the upcoming Super Mario Bros. movie that’s out next month) underscores the fashion world’s increasingly fuzzy boundaries between the real and the virtual. More and more in recent years, designers have borrowed from digital aesthetics and translated them into real-world objects. Perhaps no product encapsulates this trend better than MSCHF’s Big Red Boots, aka “BRBs.” When the Brooklyn-based art collective released the bulbous boots last month they quickly jumped from viral social media phenomenon to real-world status symbol.

BRBs were unmissable on the streets of New York during Fashion Week, and by all accounts seem to actually serve the basic functions of footwear (you know, allowing you to walk on physical, 3D ground). They also boast a solid celebrity fan club: Lil Wayne, Janelle Monáe, Diplo, and Ciara all rank among early BRB aficionados. Monáe wore a custom pair at the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game, swapping the signature Astro Boy red for a much softer baby-blue skyscape print. She even shot hoops in them.

Mario’s boots are one of a kind and, sadly, not for sale. But if this big-boot trend holds, we might all soon have plenty of options for dressing like our favorite cartoon characters.

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