People get really excited about sneaker collaborations, but the hype for the Louis Vuiton x Nike Air Force 1 is simply unmatched. That’s because these aren’t your typical designer-meets-sportswear sneakers — they’re a piece of history.
This collaboration marks the 40-year anniversary of the Air Force 1: a beloved sneaker that rose to fame by breaking into the early 2000’s hip hop scene. Since then, the Air Force 1 has become an icon of streetwear — the perfect marriage of music, art, and fashion.
But these sneakers aren’t just for streetwear fanatics. Their classic look, ideal proportions, and magic ability to go with any outfit has made them popular among many different groups, from A-list celebrities to ordinary teens.
Unlike other streetwear pieces, Air Force 1’s can cover a wide price range. Regular Air Force 1’s are affordable enough that young people can get their hands on them, but they can also reach costly levels through customizations and exclusive luxury partnerships, just like this one.
This collection is particularly special because it was designed by Virgil Abloh, former head of Louis Vuitton’s menswear and founder of the renowned luxury label Off-White. It’s been said that this was one of the last projects that Abloh worked on before his passing.
Abloh is credited for making Louis Vuitton more relevant, and therefore more accessible, for wider audiences. These sneakers made the perfect canvas for his modern luxury designs.
The collection included not only the highly coveted white-on white style, but also a variety of unique colorways embossed with the LV monogram and printed with Abloh’s unique graphics.
The styles rolled out one-by-one over the course of months, leaving sneaker fanatics clicking refresh on a loop. The most expensive AF1’s yet, these sneakers sold for thousands of dollars and have resold at auctions for over 100k.
Whether or not buyers actually wore the sneakers or displayed them in a glass case remains to be seen. Nonetheless, this collection highlights the impact that brands (and the artists within them) can have when they partner. Collaborations allow brands to embrace levels of creativity and social importance that they simply can’t reach on their own.