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5 Artist Sneaker Collabs That You Should Have in Your Closet

Sneaker culture has been around for decades, starting from the “terrace fashion” popular among soccer fans in the 1970s. However, sneaker collaborations are relatively new, with many crediting the Stüssy x Nike Huarache LE as the first real collaboration back in 2000. Nowadays, sneaker brands collaborate with big names, with luxury brands like Chanel working with supermodel and celebrity Gigi Hadid. However, artists have also collaborated with sneaker brands to come up with the most amazing designs on the consumer market. Here are a few of them:

Takashi Murakami x Vans


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Credit – @streething on Instagram

Takashi Murakami is one of Japan’s most famous contemporary artists, known for blurring the lines between fine art and commercialism. He takes inspiration from anime and manga, embracing the kawaii (literally meaning cute) concept. In 2015, he collaborated with Vans to create two new editions of their classic slip-on model. The shoes have his well-known anime-style face and flower art in blue and pink.

Brain Dead x Reebok

Credit – @eyesmag on Instagram

Reebok released a new Pump Court colorway in 2020. This interesting 90s silhouette with contrasting colors and synthetic caging is designed by Brain Dead, a collection of artists that aim to showcase their unique artistic flair — which is clearly seen in this offbeat collaboration with Reebok. Kyle Ng, one of the founders of Brain Dead, takes the new colorway further by also designing color blocking on the heel.

ESPO x Nike

When artists do sneaker collaborations, they typically use pre-existing silhouettes as a canvas to put colors and graphics on. However, Stephen Powers (also known as ESPO) made a very eye-catching and unconventional design for the Nike Air Force IIs in 2004 — he created the very first clear sneaker. The toe box and parts of the upper shoe are clear, bordered with light blue. It was a craze when it was released, and it proved that art collaborations can produce out-of-the-box creations.

Bradley Theodore x Puma


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A post shared by Brian Poli-Dixon (@brianpolidixonart)

Credit – @brianpolidixonart on Instagram

Bradley Theodore is a famous street artist, known for his use of bright colors and freehand paintings of skulls. His story inspired a 2016 short documentary called “Becoming Bradley Theodore,” which chronicles how he taught himself to paint to help him get through the darkest moments of his life. Now, he is well known in NYC and London and teamed up with Puma in 2018 to create a black suede shoe designed with his signature color palette and street art style.

Jeremy Scott x Adidas

If you familiar with Adidas Originals, then you’ve probably heard of Jeremy Scott, who has collaborated with the brand countless times. He’s currently partnering with Adidas again, and sneakerheads are excited as they always have high expectations whenever Scott is in the picture. However, before he started releasing the collections we’re familiar with, he had previously worked with the brand to create “Keith Haring” for Adidas AdiColor. Released in 2006, this was a tribute to the artist Keith Haring, an icon in pop and contemporary art. The shoes feature his signature black and white graffiti-like art and are considered to be one of the most tasteful tributes to Haring and his work.

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