One of the many reasons it’s a great time to be a human who needs to get dressed is because the lines between what’s traditionally his and hers have never been more blurred. Details once saved solely for the women’s side of store floors (bold colors, florals, sequins) are now commonplace in menswear. The almighty hoodie—once the average man’s warmer T-shirt—is a silhouette seen as much on the women’s runways in Paris as it is on the streets of, well, everywhere. It’s a time where a dope slouchy sweater is just that, no matter who’s wearing it or what label it comes from. Even traditionally women’s-only brands like Stella McCartney, Isabel Marant, and soon Céline are making luxury wares for both sexes. Nowhere is this movement more visible than in the sneaker game. And no sneaker has more crossover appeal right now than Louis Vuitton’s new Archlight model.
Vuitton women’s creative director Nicolas Ghesquière has masterminded a shoe that’s appeal is as wide as it’s price tag is bank account-draining. Because of its ultra-high tongue, aggressive arch design, and chunkier silhouette, the Archlight looks like the kind of sneaker that would help some comic book hero run faster and jump higher. They’re Transformers 12: More Robots-level in their futurism. Despite their radical design, the oversized sole bring balance and symmetry to these shoes in a way that most of the oversized, designer dad sneakers in today’s climate don’t. In other words, they’re on the ugly sneaker spectrum, but not ironically so. They look like the work of a luxury designer with 20 years experience who knows he’s doing. (It also means they come with a hefty price tag—almost $1,100—even by today’s luxury sneaker standards.)
While the Archlight is designed—and sized—as a women’s sneakers, it looks equally killer on guys. Enter Jaden Smith. He’s been wearing the style for months and has been a pioneer in the “men wearing women’s clothes” game for years (not least because of his friendship with Vuitton, Ghesquière, and access to the house’s women’s closets). Smith has taken to wearing the Archlights in a minimal (for Jaden Smith, that is) fashion, putting a white pair with a simple jeans-and-jacket fit. The young actor/rapper/philosopher might have wild style but he knows plenty about getting dressed well. I.e. if your sneakers look as cool as the Archlights, it’s best to let them be the center of attention in every fit. Like any in-demand sneaker, the Archlights comes in an array of color combinations that run the gamut from ultra sleek to sporty but if you’re in the market for the all-black pair seen here, know that there’s only place in the world to get them: L.V.’s new sneaker pop-up in N.Y.C.
Ultimately, the only thing that should be stopping you from rocking these sneakers (again, other than that pesky get-what-you-pay-for luxury price tag) is the fact the size run on these stops at an EU size 42, or U.S. men’s 9. So if you’re shoe size is on the smaller side, consider this your invitation to ball out like never before. And consider this our invitation to have Ghesquière bring his design talents over to menswear too, especially now that L.V.’s top menswear position currently vacant.
$1,090. All-black Archlights available at Louis Vuitton’s sneaker pop-up (122 Greene Street, N.Y.C.). Other colors available worldwide February 23rd. See the entire lineup now at Louis Vuitton