5th March 2021

High street brand collaboration with luxury labels is not new, but an unexpected link-up can still cause great excitement. For instance, Uniqlo frequently collaborates with JW Anderson, Christophe Lemaire and Jil Sander. The combination of mainstream accessibility with lower luxury price points and the limited number of collaboration pieces, is what makes these collections highly sought after.

This juxtaposition of fashion worlds has produced countless collaborations, and some of the most interesting are in footwear. Sneakerheads will be familiar with this culture, but it’s not just sports brands that are reaching new consumers with their partnerships. I’ll be taking a look at ten of my favourite high street x luxury designer footwear collabs – not that I own any of them!



adidas Detroit Runner RC Black White x Raf Simons

Released: August 2018

Born of the German sportswear giant and Belgian designer’s ongoing relationship, the Detroit Runner is my favourite of the silhouettes. It’s been through many iterations and colourways, but this 2018 release is my pick. An elongated shape with metallic details almost eradicates the adidas DNA altogether, and looks more like a luxury fashion staple. With a canvas upper and winter-ready tread sole, this is a truly distinctive shoe.

Available to purchase here.



Dr. Martens 1461 x Colette

Released: June 2017

The legendary, now shuttered, Parisian retailer Colette joined up with Dr. Martens for their 20th anniversary. The white and blue 1461 three-eye shoe with white polka dot details is the embodiment of Colette’s logo and understated cool. A stand-out piece for fans of either brand.

Read more about the shoe here.



Nike Jordan 1 High x Dior (Air Dior)

Released: June 2020

I can’t write a piece like this without talking about Air Dior, the biggest sneaker release of 2020, bar none. Using premium leather, made in Italy with an understated design, this was a long time coming for both brands. In less than nine hours, over five million people worldwide signed up for the draw of only 8500 pairs (including the Jordan 1 Lows).

Martin Lotti, Jordan Brand VP of Design said at the time, “Our partnership with Maison Dior will offer a new look into the style of basketball and blend high-end streetwear with luxury fashion.” Although Nike and Jordan both release collaboration pieces regularly, this

transcended streetwear and sportswear, signalling a new wave of design sensibilities. They even made it to the Biden inauguration – on the feet of Nikolas Ajagu, the husband of Kamala Harris’ niece.

Available to purchase here.



Dr. Martens 1460 Remastered Boot x Needles

Released: August 2020

Dr. Martens are known for their collaborations with brands ranging from streetwear stalwarts  Supreme, to those with cult followings, such as Hello Kitty. However, this 1460 remastered boot with Needles falls into a special category of luxury streetwear. Using the familiar stripes, butterfly logo and iconic purple, this is a tasteful reworking of a classic silhouette as part of the Dr. Martens 60th anniversary celebrations.

Read more about the shoe here.



Birkenstock x Rick Owens

Released: February 2019

Birkenstock is famously picky when it comes to collaborations. Although the pace has stepped up in recent years, they always take pains to ensure the fit is perfect. Perhaps this dedication to their core brand is why their current valuation is estimated to be almost $5bn.

The second collaboration between LA-based Rick Owens and Birkenstock arrived in three models: Arizona and Rotterdam sandals, and the Rotterhiker boot. Featuring metallics, oversized velcro straps and rubberised logo, I find the two sandal silhouettes to be very wearable, and welcome takes on classic designs. The boot is more of an acquired taste and less recognisably Birkenstock – more for the Rick Owens fanbase. The pairing seems to be successful, as Owens is releasing a third collection this spring.

Available to purchase here.



Nike LDV Waffle Daybreak Green x Sacai

Released: May 2019

The first Sacai x Nike pieces dropped a few years ago, creating a hybrid design like no other by merging the Waffle and LDV silhouettes. Using a mesh lining and premium suede, Sacai designer Chitose Abe doubled up on laces, tongues and the Nike swoosh. Since this release, there have been additional colourways and silhouettes, including the VaporWaffle.

Available to purchase here. 



Kith x Moncler x ASICS GEL-Lyte III

Released: September 2017

King of collabs, Kith founder Ronnie Fieg took his love of skiing and poured it into this three-way partnership. This is my favourite ASICS silhouette, so to see it in this winterized version is almost too good to be true. In three colourways which stay true to Moncler’s aesthetic, navy, bright red and beige, the outer is made of premium suede, while the lining is cosy sherpa fleece. The lucky buyers even received a spare pair of fleece insoles and laces.

Red available to purchase here.



Birkenstock x Proenza Schouler

Released: March 2020

New York-based Proenza Schouler also made the cut for a Birkenstock collaboration, and they did not disappoint. Releasing two models, Arizona and Milano, in four colourways, the designer chose velcro over clasps for the biggest alteration. The signature suede footbed is replaced with leather, with contrast stitching on all models. The utilitarian chic of Birkenstock just got ‘New Yorked’.

Available to purchase here.



New Balance 827 Abzorb Yellow x Aimé Leon Dore

Released: March 2020

An all-American partnership, the New York luxury brand chose the archived New Balance 827 model for this release. I chose this of all the pairings as the colourway just makes you smile. Bright yellow and white with reflective elements, and offset by navy, the colours make for a fun yet practical sneaker. The accessible price tag stays true to New Balance’s positioning, while the accompanying campaign matched the playfulness of the design by featuring older models.

See the shoe here and read more here.



Nike Air Max 180 Black Pink x COMME Des GARÇONS

Released: February 2018

CDG are known for their highly sought-after collaborations, and this is certainly one of them. Although the initial price tag was reasonable for a piece this covetable, getting your hands on a pair was the tricky part. Released alongside two other pink-dominant colourways, this was a vibrant look for both brands, especially in a silhouette that hasn’t seen many releases of late. This sneaker is fixed on my watch list in case a reasonable resale comes up.

Available to purchase here.



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