Designer Sneakers: How Luxury Brands Are Taking Over the Game
Designer sneakers have become a must-have for any shoe connoisseur. When you want to pull your look together, a luxury sneaker is great no matter the season. So, once you find a pair you love, you can wear them all year long and dress them up or down. High fashion that can be worn daily is an easy way to elevate your wardrobe. Let's define what a designer sneaker is and take a closer look at some of the biggest brand collaborations in recent years.
The rise of streetwear and athleisure has increased the demand for matching designer footwear. These shoes are high quality and made of durable materials, so they last longer than standard sneakers. This means you'll save money over time, although the upfront cost is often higher.
The concept of high-end sneakers started in 1984 when Gucci released an all-white tennis shoe. During the late 2000s, there was a resurgence of name-brand sneakers when designers like Pierre Hardy and Nicolas Ghesquiere released their sneaker fashions. The market grew threefold between 2009 and 2015, drawing a new group of buyers to the idea of luxury sneakers.
Where Can You Find Designer Sneakers on Sale?
High-end stores like Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, or Nordstrom are just a few places you can find designer sneakers. Some collectors only seek out high-end brand collaborations for their shoe collections. Follow those collectors and watch for sales when they're ready to unload a pair of designer sneakers.
Who Wears Designer Sneakers?
While millennial millionaires seem to lead the charge in the global footwear industry, according to Grandview Research, everyone loves a great designer sneaker. Attractive luxury sneakers have become a status symbol as high-end brands continue to push the culture forward.
Millennials are known to be demanding and critical of brands. They're predicted to represent at least 40% of the luxury clients by 2025, according to Heuritech. Even though millennials may not have a lot of disposable income, fascination with the luxury lifestyle means prioritization of items like designer sneakers.
Women’s Designer Sneakers
Women have certainly made an impact on sneaker culture, forcing name brands to step up their game. Female athletes want a durable trainer for workout sessions. A good luxury walking shoe is also desired when running errands or out shopping for more streetwear. The silhouettes are typically chic and simple, to be worn with anything from a high-end couture dress to a sweat suit.
Men’s Designer Sneakers
The style and versatility a sneaker brings to an outfit are unmatched by other casual shoes. You can easily go from the office to the gym and not look out of place. Wear them with jeans to upgrade your casual look, or toss them on with a suit to show off your business casual attire. Men's luxury brand sneakers also have basic silhouettes so they can support the various styles of clothing men wear. Whether leather or a canvas design, designer sneakers for men add interest and depth to the overall look.
High-end brands lead growth in the sneaker market. They give brands like Nike and Adidas a run for their money, taking a huge chunk of the market share at $55 billion. There was a point where sneakers were not allowed on runways, office buildings, and other formal events. Luxury brand sneakers have made their way into these spaces and are here to stay.
Here are some high-end fashion houses that have presented unique sneaker collections.
During the fall/winter 2022 runway show, Gucci debuted its "Exquisite Gucci" collection it collaborated on with Adidas. The collection joins Gucci's cool aesthetic with Adidas' athleisure wear. The silhouette is the classic low-top Adidas design in an array of muted colorways.
In 2020, Gucci and Disney connected to celebrate the Lunar New Year. It was the Chinese Year of the Rat. In January, Disney launched the beginning of its Gucci Chinese New Year Campaign with Mickey Mouse as the primary focus. It was a hit among Disney lovers and still is one of their most-talked-about campaigns.
Chanel and rapper/producer Pharrell Williams worked together on the Chanel x Pharrell Williams Collection. The collaboration between the two sent ripples through the fashion world, and the sneaker line was much anticipated. Only a few were able to get the limited-release luxury shoes. Now, the designs are available online through the resale platform, so Pharrell's fans can purchase an exclusive pair.
This fashion house teamed up with another powerhouse, Nike, and launched the Dior x Air Jordan 1 in April 2020. The famous Swoosh featured the Dior Oblique print with Dior Grey color blocking. It turned out the be the hottest sneaker to drop in 2020, with only 8,500 pairs produced.
The legendary silhouette of the Air Jordan 1 with couture craftsmanship was all the rage among sneakerheads and celebrities. Right now, the sneakers can be found for $11,320 on resale sites at nearly a 400% mark up.
Prada has been known to turn down clichéd collaborations. It seeks original ideas and finally found the perfect artist to bring a sneaker collection to life. A 22-year-old British artist, Cassius Atticus Hirst, brought his passion for art to Prada. He started by purchasing blank white sneakers and spray painting abstract gradients for fun. He posted the custom sneakers on Instagram and drew the attention of rappers A$AP Rocky and Playboi Carti. Hirst designed America's Cup collection and plans more collaborations.
Louis Vuitton, Nike, and late fashion designer Virgil Abloh shook up sneaker culture and collaborated on the Nike Air Force 1. The shoe made its debut at the spring/summer 2022 runway show, and they worked with Sotheby's to auction off 200 special-edition Air Force 1s. The shoes were auctioned off for an average of $126,500.
The sneaker is made of contrasting leather with iconic Louis Vuitton Monogram Canvas and Damier Ebene Canvas patterns. Select stores offer different colorways to match your high-end outfits. There are a total of 21 colorways that will eventually hit retail and 12 styles slated to come out.
Sneakers — The Hot New Luxury Item for Your Collection
Luxury brands looking to expand their footprint (pun intended) can do so easily through their sneaker collection collaborations. It's the perfect entry point to reach a broader audience that might otherwise turn down an ostentatious display of wealth. Now that luxury brands are showing that they're in touch with everyday people, these same people don't mind supporting them by making a purchase that's practical and fashionable.
Q: What is the biggest designer shoe collaboration?
A: Nike and Dior are the two biggest names in their industries that have recently started to collaborate.
Q: How much do designer sneakers cost?
A: Prices can start as low as $150 and go up to tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on the resale market.
Q: Are luxury sneakers a good investment?
A: Yes, they can be. Although the out-of-pocket cost is expensive, the materials are durable and of high quality so they will last much longer than your average shoe.