Is there anything more iconic to hip-hop and sneakerhead culture than the Nike Air Force 1s? These shoes are the grandfather of streetwear hype, the original head-turning shoe from which all other styles are born.
Virgil Abloh, the late fashion designer and cultural pioneer, understood this about the sneaker, and he honored it with a Louis Vuitton crossover design for his Spring-Summer 2022 Men’s Collection; a collection that would ultimately be the last during his life.
Now, those vibrant and bespoke shoes are getting their official release, alongside a special exhibit coming to New York City in June of this year.
“The Air Force 1 is a sample like the Amen Break,” Abloh said in an interview in 2021. “A t-shirt is an ‘Amen Break.’ A suit is an ‘Amen Break.’ We’re all iterating on the same ideas—but in my canon, the Air Force 1 puts the edge on the blade. This object happened way before me, but to get to a context where it’s adjacent to the t-shirt and the suit, its logic has been forty years in the making.”
Abloh designed 47 editions of the Louis Vuitton x Nike Air Force 1s, each of which includes the signature styles of the original brought to new heights in the French fashion house’s luxury materials, embossed with the LV logo.
Only nine of the designs will be released to the public market, including white mid- and low-tops in calf leather; a black low-top in calf suede; three variations of white low-tops with printed Monogram leather in color accent variations of Gym Green, Cornet Red and Team Royal Blue; a gold low-top in embossed metallic canvas; silver and multi-color patchwork low-tops; and a Sail and multi-color mid-top with an Azur graffiti print.
Those nine designs will first be made available to the Maison’s community for early access pre-order in June, with a global retail release and digital activation to follow.
Some lucky shoppers already have their hands on a few of these sneakers. Back in February, 200 pairs were sold at auction with proceeds set to benefit the Virgil Abloh “Post-Modern” Scholarship Fund.
Whether you buy a pair or not, all 47 of the original designs will be on public display from May 20 to 31, featured as part of an exhibit titled Louis Vuitton and Nike “Air Force 1” by Virgil Abloh in New York City’s Greenpoint Terminal Warehouse. A series of art installations throughout the city will also mark the exhibit’s arrival.
See more images of the exhibit space and the shoes for market below. Stay up to date on the latest release info and learn more about the upcoming exhibit at louisvuitton.com.
Photography by: Courtesy of Louis Vuitton