A guide to Virgil Abloh’s most iconic sneakers and where to buy them

Nobody else has changed the sneaker game like Virgil Abloh.

At the helm of Off-White, the creative polymath sparked a frenzy over sneakers that the world hadn’t seen since the days when Michael Jordan was a basketball player. Just like the superstar athletes of the 80s and hip-hop stars of the 90s, Abloh’s collaboration with Nike gave birth to a new generation of sneaker collectors and incorporated names like “Air Force 1” and “Air Jordans” into the mainstream language .

There wasn’t a single sneaker design from Abloh that didn’t get everyone talking, whether it was a hit or a failure – and they were mostly hits, as evidenced by the increasing demand for his limited edition shoes of his time since his demise. Below we look back at some memorable moments from the Louis Vuitton designer’s great legacy of shoe novelties.

Off-White x Nike Air Force 1 Low

(Image credit: Nike)

Virgil Abloh’s influence on modern sneaker culture can be traced back to The ten, his first collaboration with Nike. As part of the project, Abloh reworked 10 classic Nike silhouettes – starting with the Air Force 1. When he first met the sportswear giant in 2017, Abloh reworked a triple black pair, exposed the foam in the tongue and scribbled on the shoes with a mark. He and his Off-White design team would showcase the custom shoes at Design Miami to bring Off-White furniture to market. To the The ten, Abloh took the same deconstructionist approach and created a translucent pair of AF1s that were clearly labeled “AIR” along the midsoles.

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Off-White x Nike Air Presto

Off-White x Nike Air Presto
(Image credit: Nike)

Many seasoned sneakerheads consider this, not the much hyped AJ1s, to be the pinnacle of The ten. Abloh took a greatly underrated silhouette from legendary Nike designer Tinker Hatfield and turned it into something that still looks modern today. In fact, you can attribute the recent Air Presto shoe revival to Abloh’s 2017 design, which was wearable, well-designed, and essentially said, “When you know, you know.” And nobody captured that better than the musician Frank Ocean, who wore it these Nikes during the Panorama Music Festival 2017.

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Off-White x Nike Air Jordan 1 “Chicago”

Off-White x Nike Air Jordan 1 "Chicago" sneakers
(Image credit: Farfetch)

The Air Jordan 1 was a big deal on its own as so much of its importance was tied to sports legend Michael Jordan. In 2017, Virgil Abloh made it even bigger than he did the basketball shoes for. overworked The ten. Abloh took an X-Acto knife to her soles, smacked an “AIR” label over it, and added his signature zipper to the laces – all in a single session. However, their impact was phenomenal: the shoes sold out immediately and were snatched by celebrities like Beyoncé, Drake and even Michael Jordan himself. And they’re still in high demand, with prices on resale platforms soaring to over $ 7,000 ($ 9,549) in the past few days. If there was one pair of sneakers that could define Abloh’s career, it would be these kicks.

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Off-White x Nike Air Jordan 1 “University Blue”

Off-White x Nike Air Jordan 1 "University blue"
(Image credit: Farfetch)

Abloh’s Air Jordans are the most requested styles from his collaboration with Nike and the Jordan brand in general. His third take on the shoes, launched in 2018, was an instant hit. The pair came in the bold University Blue colorway – a nod to the University of North Carolina, the college Michael Jordan attended – which Abloh contrasted with orange stitching and a red zipper. These shoes were more accessible than his coveted AJ1 “Chicago” pair and allowed even more people to ride the wave of his hype.

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Off-White x MoMA x Nike Air Force 1

Off-White x MoMA x Nike Air Force 1 by Virgil Abloh
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“[Sneakers] are on par with a sculpture by David or the Mona Lisa, ”Abloh said in a press release for his The ten Series. The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) clearly agreed, because two years later the New York art institution invited him to create a limited edition sneaker for their exhibition. Article: Is Fashion Modern? These all-black AF1s were sold through the MoMA Design Store, including a pair of custom socks and exhibition tickets. Due to their rarity, they were soon resold for up to $ 15,000 (approx. SGD 20,457). For Abloh, too, who always compared himself to an artist, the shoes were a moment in which the circle came full.

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Off-White x Nike Blazer “Queen”

Off-White x Nike Blazer
(Image credit: Nike)

Abloh’s “Queen” collection for tennis champion Serena Williams is one for the history books. In addition to sportswear, such as the tutu dress Williams wore at the 2018 US Open, Abloh created three sneakers for the athlete, including this distinctive pair of blazer mids. The shoes had an oversized black swoosh, tennis ball-inspired neon accents, and a pink-purple gradient midsole. By that time, Abloh had already started using colorful gradients as a symbol of diversity in his men’s collections for Louis Vuitton, the most memorable example being his first Paris fashion show in 2018.

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Louis Vuitton 408 sneaker

(Image credit: Louis Vuitton)

Virgil Abloh ushered in a new era in luxury fashion at his first Louis Vuitton Show, where he unveiled the Louis Vuitton 408 trainer. To create the first sneakers for the French luxury brand, he took inspiration from vintage basketball shoes such as the Air Jordan 3 and the AVIA 880. He added the Louis Vuitton branding through the monogram flowers on the outsole, the characteristic lettering on the side and a “408” label that references the label’s date of birth. Each shoe took over six hours and 106 different pieces made by Italian artisans. This level of craftsmanship and its connection with LV and Abloh justified the price of the shoes in the thousands.

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Louis Vuitton x Nike Air Force 1

Virgil Abloh x Louis Vuitton x Nike Air Force 1 sneakers
(Image credit: Louis Vuitton)

For his last Louis Vuitton collection, Abloh started a collaboration with Nike. He remixed its Air Force 1 sneakers in 21 new colourways, including both his go-to-air quotes and Louis Vuitton’s monogram and Damier checkerboard pattern. The collaboration is the first of its kind, akin to the French luxury brand’s record breaking association with Supreme in 2017. After Abloh’s death, the Louis Vuitton x Nike Air Force 1 collection will undoubtedly get even bigger when it is finally available and launches next year.

Image credit header: Nike


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