The classic silhouettes and primary colors of Warrior Footwear look stolen from a mid-century gym class in—which isn't far from the truth. Recently introduced to Western markets, the sneakers have a storied history in China, dating back to 1935 and holding a similarly iconic position to Converse's Chuck Taylors in the states.
Originally engineered for athletes, they found their way back into alternative youth culture in the latter half of the 20th century. Now generally regarded as cheap sneakers for the peasant class, they have never had much profile abroad until now.
Thanks to a few exchange students in China who decided to distribute the shoes on Western shores, Warrior joins their fellow Chinese brand Feiyue as a (formerly cheap) retro shoe in a new market. Through a partnership with Warrior's Shanghai factory, they began selling the original shoes in the U.S. last June. And plans are currently ramping up for brand new models as part of their F/W 2010 collection.
The current crop of designs keep to a generally low profile, with canvas uppers and minimalist detailing on the sides. They're available at a number of retailers in North America and can be purchased directly from the Warrior store starting at $40 for the basic model.