Normally, all eyes would be on Paris runways this week for Fashion Week FW21 Men’s. However, with Highsnobiety’s second edition of “Not In Paris” running concurrently and most shows moving to digital showcases, it seems that trying to discern the latest fashion trends, highlight pieces, and footwear collaborations has lost some of its appeal.
This year, due to the ever-present pandemic, most eyes will be glued to YouTube streams and Instagram feeds to spot next season’s must-have items. Milan Fashion Week was relatively quiet, with only Prada and Samuel Ross’ A-COLD-WALL* showing anything of note in regards to footwear.
As has become tradition, Paris is likely to provide the biggest bang, with the likes of Louis Vuitton, Rick Owens, Dior, and Vetements presenting their FW21 collections. To make it easier and to sort through all of the noise, we’re on hand to round up the best, most WTF, and most noteworthy sneakers showcased.
Scroll through our roundup below for the lowdown on the best sneakers unveiled at Fashion Week Men’s FW21 (with London to follow in February).
Virgil Abloh’s FW21 collection for Louis Vuitton featured four main footwear styles of note, three of which are flips on and homages to existing designs. The first is what appears to be a flip of Salomon’s ultra-functional Advanced line of sneakers (number 1 in the gallery). It arrives in a colorful style with a trail-running-inspired pattern on the lateral and medial sides of the upper. A plastic heel plate completes the high-performance look.
The second style is a stell toe-capped cowboy boot, which comes in several different colors. The cowboy boots go with much of the clothing on show, which had a slight western aesthetic twist. The third style (number 3 in the gallery), looks like Abloh has flipped the Nike Foamposite and almost turned it into a more approachable sneaker. The iconic foam material covers the lateral and medial sides of the shoe, featuring the same grooves found on Nike’s original.
The final footwear style is what looks to be a flipped Nike Air Trainer, as it combines the silhouette’s signature forefoot strap with the upper of Louis Vuitton’s existing Trainer. The footwear collection continues Abloh’s reinterpretation of popular sneaker models, having already reworked the Nike Air Jordan 3, Avia 880, and the New Balance 9xx series.
One of Rick Owens’ most famous in-house footwear silhouettes, the Ramones, is a high-end take on the Converse Chuck Taylor. Now the two brands have come full circle, as Converse and Rick Owens’ Drkshdw sublabel have teamed up on an official, co-branded Chuck Taylor.
The sneaker leans heavily on Owens’ aesthetic, featuring three toe caps and several layers of rubber on the midsole for an extra chunky, albeit elongated look. The shoe arrives with an affordable, Converse-level price tag of $165 and $170, depending on the colorway. The sneaker has been named the TurboDrk.
The highlight of UNDERCOVER’s FW21 reveal came in the form of two colorways of a collaborative Nike Dunk High. With the Dunk hype at its peak, it should come as no surprise that the two brands have teamed up on the iconic shoe. The sneaker appears to be constructed from leather, featuring tonal Swoosh branding on the side, a contrasting Nike logo on the tongue, and the words “chaos” and “Gleichgewicht” on the heels, the latter of which is the German word for “balance.”
Raf Simons showed his first Prada collection and, while the coats exceeded all of our expectations, the footwear fell a little flat — and that’s not a reference to the shape of the shoes. Instead of showing hyper-futuristic sneakers, as Prada has done in past seasons, Simons chose to reinvent the dress shoe, giving the classic leather silhouette an updated (and elevated) midsole.
A-COLD-WALL*’s FW21 footwear collection included both collaborations and in-house designs. The collaboration part of the collection was with the revered boot brand, Dr. Martens, with whom ACW* has already collaborated once in the past. The end result is a low-top Derby, which will be available in both grey (previewed above) and black.
The standout design from ACW*’s in-house footwear collection is previewed below. The Chelsea Boot-esque sneaker features a slip-on design and an elongated, neoprene collar that extends beyond the ankle. The main upper features ACW* branding on the toe, with a lugged, hiking-inspired sole unit.
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