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Pairs of Art: Twelve Sleek and Sporty Designer Sneakers

Notable designer brands like John Varvatos and Jimmy Choo are synonymous with high-quality leather loafers and sky-high stilettos, respectively, but their contributions to the shoe industry are also found in a rather surprising category: sneakers. They've taken what was once considered a very basic, casual style of footwear and turned it into a work of art.
Adidas Jeremy Scott Wings 2.0
Adidas Jeremy Scott 3 Tongue
Y-3 by Yohji Yamamoto Ikuno W
tokidoki for Onitsuka Mexico LO
tokidoki X Onitsuka Tiger Seck Quartz HI
Jimmy Choo Tokyo
Fendi Leather Sneakers
AMQ Entwine
Lanvin Snake Print Sneaker
Converse by John Varvatos CTAS Multieyelets Ox Sneakers
Giuseppe Zanotti RDW003
Nike Air Max LeBron VII Los Angeles

Jimmy Choo Tokyo

Who could’ve predicted Jimmy Choo, maker of some of the most popular and coveted high heels in the world, would release a line of trainers? You can train for New York Fashion Week in these, but not for much else. ($595, Jimmy Choo)

Adidas Jeremy Scott 3 Tongue

These innovative shoes (seriously, have you ever seen any with multiple tongues?) were released in fall 2010, and while the color scheme is not as bright as some of his other designs, the quirkiness alone ensured a fast sellout. (No longer available, Shoebiz)

Y-3 by Yohji Yamamoto Ikuno W

Scott is only one of many designers who occasionally transform Adidas from a sports brand into couture footwear. Who knew the basic running shoe could look so whimsical, yet elegant? ($125, Zappos)

tokidoki for Onitsuka Mexico LO

Onitsuka Tigers are already highly regarded and sought after within the sneaker world, but when Italian artist Simone Legno, of tokidoki, added his artful, oversaturated touch to the shoes, fans quickly snatched them up. (No longer available, Shoebiz)

tokidoki X Onitsuka Tiger Seck Quartz HI

tokidoki also created a series of high-tops for Onitsuka. More than just unique footwear, his shoes are visually striking and tell a much larger, more colorful story. Unfortunately, that story comes to an end with this final collaboration. (No longer available, Shoebiz)

Jimmy Choo Tokyo

Who could’ve predicted Jimmy Choo, maker of some of the most popular and coveted high heels in the world, would release a line of trainers? You can train for New York Fashion Week in these, but not for much else. ($595, Jimmy Choo)

Fendi Leather Sneakers

Normally known for branding everything with its signature logo, Fendi veered away from the norm by offering this slightly bare-bones shoe. With minimal stitching as the sole embellishment, the shoes’ pearly pink color shines through. ($381.80, Chickdowntown)

AMQ Entwine

Oftentimes provocative and always groundbreaking, Alexander McQueen started experimenting for the PUMA label in 2005. His later designs for the company, such as this one, are highly modern and sculpted. They offer intriguing pops of color against dark canvases. ($210, Alexander McQueen for PUMA)

Lanvin Snake Print Sneaker

Delicate ribbon laces against a snakeskin print that looks almost metallic—you don’t get much further away from the standard canvas sneaker than Lanvin’s creation. This is from their Resort 2011 collection. ($495, Nordstrom)

Converse by John Varvatos CTAS Multieyelets Ox Sneakers

It seems Varvatos took a cue from Lanvin and went the snakeskin route as well, though his version is sleeker and more understated. The eyelet embellishment adds a slithery feel to an already reptile-like print. ($150, DJPremium)

Giuseppe Zanotti RDW003

These masculine black sneakers for women are all business on the bottom and all bling on the top. And at over $500 per pair, they’re one pricey duo. Pair them with ultra-skinny jeans and be prepared to turn some heads. ($542.50, Zappos)

Nike Air Max LeBron VII Los Angeles

In September 2010, Nike kicked off a City Pack and Artist Series for its popular Air Max model, bringing in up-and-coming artists to put their city-specific spins on shoes. C.R. Stecyk III came up with palm trees, clear blue skies, and glitzy gold—L.A. right down to the sole. (Nike)

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