The Nine Sneakers (and One Hyped-Up Clog) Defining Fashion Now

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Air Force 1 by Virgil Abloh, price upon request, by Louis Vuitton Men’s.
Air Force 1 by Virgil Abloh, price upon request, by Louis Vuitton Men’s. 
Louis Vuitton Men’s x Nike Air Force 1 by Virgil Abloh

Curious about how monumental this Virgil Abloh–engineered linkup between Louis Vuitton Men’s and Nike actually is? Sotheby’s New York has an answer: In January, 200 limited-edition pairs of LV-embossed Air Force 1s were auctioned off for an earth-shattering $25.3 million in total, setting a new sales record for sneaker and fashion auctions in the process. The latest colorways—an icy white and a chromed-out black-blue-and-yellow concoction—are perhaps even more desirable than the now historic O.G.s, so expect to move some serious mountains to get your mitts on a pair (prices upon request). —Yang-Yi Goh

Gazelle, $850, by Adidas x Gucci.
Adidas x Gucci Gazelle

When Gucci unveiled its much-heralded partnership with Adidas on the runway in February, there were plenty of fanciful Alessandro Michele flourishes on display. Matching mohair hats and sweatsuits. Flowing silk tracksuit gowns. High-heel three-striped boots. But the biggest showstopper of them all might also have been the simplest: Adidas’s iconic Gazelle sneaker ($850), doused entirely—from the canvas uppers to the gum midsoles—in Gucci’s righteous monogram print. —Y.G.

Defender, $1,090, by Balenciaga.
Balenciaga Defender​​

When you’re on a streak as blazing hot as Demna Gvasalia, you need a pair of kicks bold and freaky enough to keep up with you. Enter the Balenciaga Defender ($1,090): a techy, early-aughts-ish runner with monster-truck-ready treads bolted to its base. The supersized results feel a little Mad Max, sure, but the calming monochrome tones park them firmly in the realm of wearability. —Y.G.

Gel-Lyte V, $420, by Comme des Garcons x Asics.
Comme des Garçons Shirt x Asics Gel-Lyte V

For its fourth collaboration with fellow Japanese titan Asics, Comme des Garçons zeroed in on the Gel-Lyte V ($420)—a legend among performance runners and streetwear kids alike since its 1993 debut. In designer Rei Kawakubo’s capable hands, it’s been face-lifted to a wild new dimension, plastered with stark leopard spots to sync with the black-and-white motif that dominated CdG Shirt’s spring-summer ’22 collection. —Y.G.

Ripple, $850, by Bottega Veneta. 
Bottega Veneta Ripple

You can stroll barefoot through freshly cut grass, or you can just wear the lawn on your feet instead. Bottega Veneta’s latest viral footwear creations—from Daniel Lee’s final year for the house before his departure last November—are skate-inflected slip-ons fashioned from a velvety chenille corduroy planted atop space-age ridged soles ($850). —Y.G.

Jordan 4 Military Black, $200, by Jordan Brand. 
Nike Air Jordan 4 Military Black

Among classic Air Jordan models, the Jordan 4, designed by Tinker Hatfield and originally released in 1989, has a particularly fervent cult following among sneakerheads. Over the years, it’s been released in dozens of colorways and collaborative editions, but it’s never been available in a steely white-and-black design—until now ($200). —Samuel Hine

TK-360, $895, by Givenchy. 
Givenchy TK-360

Givenchy creative director Matthew M. Williams calls the new TK-360 sneaker ($895) his “dream shoe.” Williams’s dream is a radically original one, even for a designer known for exploring cutting-edge technology in his garments. The entire soccer-boot-esque sneaker flows like one seamless knit, down to the fully integrated sole. What will sneakers look like in the future? Probably a lot like this. —S.H.

Pegasus Turbo Next Nature, $150, by Nike. 
Nike Pegasus Turbo Next Nature

Nike was founded 51 years ago in Oregon as a running brand, and the latest Pegasus trainer ($150), out this year, represents the zenith of those decades of aesthetic and material innovation. Made with over 50 percent recycled materials, it’s one of the Swoosh’s most sustainable runners yet. It’s also one of the fastest, weighing in at a feathery 272 grams and sporting an elite Zoom X foam midsole, which is the most energy-responsive sole Nike makes. —S.H.

Tokio Mule, $2,000, by Dior by Birkenstock. 
Dior x Birkenstock Tokio Mule

If anything encapsulates the current menswear moment, it’s that clogs and mules can harness as much hype as sneakers. And the Dior x Birkenstock Tokio Mule ($2,000) is the most hotly anticipated clog in fashion history. Kim Jones dedicated the fall-winter 2022 Dior Men’s collection to Christian Dior himself, who was an avid horticulturist. This Birkenstock—embroidered with a bouquet of the flowers that inspired Dior throughout his life—is Jones’s version of the French couturier’s gardening shoe. —S.H.

CREDITS: 
Photographs by Bobby Doherty
Set design by Andrea Stanley at Exposure NY

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