Designer brands make plenty of shoes, but there’s a difference between Christiain Louboutin heels and Dior x Jordan kicks.
The worlds of designer fashion and streetwear trends have always been intertwined, and no area reflects this more than footwear. Sometimes, designers elevate the common. Sometimes, they redefine existing concepts. Sometimes, they create new concepts altogether. Every route has led to innovation in the shoe arena, whether that’s adding a brand’s pedigree to an otherwise simple profile or creating something that looks like it’s from outer space.
In this post, we’re giving a little taste for luxury designers’ explorations into the sneaker game and beyond. We’ll dive into how they blend all areas of modern footwear culture with their unique heritages and design languages to create everything from combat boots to running shoes. Let’s get into it.
First on the list, these Balenciaga sneakers flow in an unprecedented way; where most sneakers sport flat, sturdy outsoles, these kicks are bulbous and unpredictable. In the vein of surf booties, their dark rubber material flows and spills through every inch of the shoes, creating a continuous, movement-oriented design. The sneakers’ organic look is the result of their almost alien design language; they are an artifact from a distant solar system, embodied in a pair of sneakers.
Balenciaga Triple S
Balenciaga continues to develop their organic design language with the Triple S. This classic shoe is a hallmark of the brand, combining the hefty, ready-for-anything nature of chunky tennis shoes with the luxury and quality that Balenciaga design embodies. A tasteful gradient from the electric blue outsole to the white-and-blue upper ties the shoe together. The Triple S serves as a caricature of itself, one that amplifies its strongest elements to achieve its futuristic vision.
Bottega Veneta Puddle Sandal
Full transparency fellow sneakerheads. A core collection doesn’t stop at sneakers. The Bottega Veneta Puddle Sandal is a practical fusion of the sandal and the rain boot. Molded from continuous, unbroken rubber, the sandal communicates the luxury inherent in simplicity. This shoe recognizes the cultural impact of the rain boot’s function-first design and reframes it, elevating it to the world of luxury. Paired with a complementary fit, these sandals can stand out more than one might expect; their unbroken rubber surface serves to call attention to them in a calm, effective way.
Louis Vuitton V.N.R Sneakers
This Louis Vuitton sneaker is perhaps the opposite, but equally amazing, as the Bottega sandals above. Resplendent in continuous, bold orange, these sneakers evoke the neon design language of modern running shoes. The rubber LV motifs throughout the shoe don’t rely on shiny metals to pop, but instead frame the brand logo in a functional, sensible way. This speaks volumes about the brand’s ability to stand alone, unsupported by material testaments of value.
Louis Vuitton x Nike Air Force 1s
This Louis Vuitton collaboration with Nike is really special. These were designed by the late Virgil Abloh. Only 200 pairs were made featuring Damier and monogram printed colorways. Earlier this year, these sneakers were made available at a Sotheby’s auction, and on average these highly desirable kicks went for roughly six figures per pair. Aside from being extremely sought after (go figure), they are extremely rare, so coming across one doesn’t come by often. Sneakerhead or not, I think it goes without saying owning a pair of these is a collector’s dream.
Louis Vuitton Creeper Boots
How about a pair of boots? Is that even a trick question? This unique Louis Vuitton boot takes classic LV themes, such as creamy suede and polished gold hardware, and gives it a utilitarian spin. The almost militaristic boot features sturdy laces and a secure strap closure with a pin mechanism to tie it all together. The boot’s thick rubber outsole gives it a monolithic stability, and the sole’s split nature creates an active, tactical stance. The boot’s polished brass hardware walks the line between utilitarian and high-class, not making sacrifices in either realm, but fully realizing and embodying both. This duality is continued onto the bottom of the shoe, where the delicate Louis Vuitton flower monogram has been reframed as an array of sharp, aggressive lugs.
Hermes Eclair Sneakers
This one’s also special. In the same vein as the classic Adidas NMD, these Hermes Eclair sneakers feature an effortless slip-on construction. Their sensible black-and-white combo is boldly interrupted by an orange stripe that runs the entire length of the shoe. The outsole gets wavy, too, with the orange stripe carving a divide between the two white halves; here, white and orange alternate the amplitude of their waves, creating a visually captivating, dynamic effect. This sneaker takes the classic white-and-orange Hermes combination and turns its presence to the max, not only through color but through the physical construction of the shoe.
Christian Dior x Daniel Arsham High Tops
These Dior High Top Sneakers take the classic Dior high top concept and add a unique take with their newspaper print. Instead of having a repeated Dior logo, they work a newspaper into the mix, creating a more involved, narrative-driven visual presence. Over the print, the sneakers feature Dior’s classic translucent material, which gives the sneaker much of its visual dimension and separates it from a standard canvas high top. The whole design is tied together by the bold, black-and-white “Dior” patch on the side of the midsole, elevating the everyday high top sneaker to a new level of luxury.