Virgil Abloh's 5 Most Influential Sneaker Designs
A tribute to a visionary who forever changed the game.
As the world grieves the loss of Virgil Abloh, we look back on the visionary’s impact on sneaker culture. Virgil will be remembered as a champion of young designers, a forward-thinker and a pioneer in bringing streetwear into luxury fashion.
In memory of the Off-White™ founder’s stellar body of work, we’re taking a look back at some of the designer’s most influential footwear releases.
Arguably his most notable offering, Virgil famously brought his deconstructed aesthetic to the Air Jordan 1. The Off-White™ AJ1 released as part of “The Ten” collection, a 10-part release in 2017 that also included models spanning the Nike/Jordan/Converse family. The unprecedented collection also included a Converse Chuck Taylor, Nike Zoom Fly SP, Nike Air Force 1 Low, Nike React Hyperdunk 2017, Nike Air Max 97, Nike Air Max 90, Nike Air Presto, Nike Air VaporMax and Nike Blazer Mid.
Virgil often spoke about creating the Off-White™ Air Jordan 1, remarking that he completed it in one design session.
Designed in partnership with Serena Williams, this Blazer Mid combines Virgil’s design ethos with punches of color tennis fans associate with Serena’s on- and off-court style. The Blazer released as part of a larger collection that included apparel as well as NikeCourt Flare 2 and Air Max 97 models. The collection celebrated Black women, a mission Virgil went on to support in partnership with activist Trinice McNally and Black Women Radicals.
While Virgil had released a great many monochromatic designs, including the Air Force 1 Low in “Volt” and “University Gold,” the Air Jordan 4 “Sail” was by far his best iteration. The subdued release set the stage for numerous subsequent monochromatic models, including the Air Jordan 4 “Shimmer.” The release went on to be the most hyped women’s sneaker in resale history.
Virgil’s first sneaker silhouette at Louis Vuitton took elements from the Air Jordan 3 and AVIA 880. The silhouette went on to be reimagined as a low-top, and saw increased popularity when Virgil and NIGO collaborated on the model as part of the LV Made collection.
Virgil celebrated throwback bootlegs with bodacious LV AF1s that drip with ’90s style. This forthcoming Louis Vuitton x Nike collaboration perfectly encapsulates Virgil’s approach to design, combining accessibility with luxury — and doing it all for the culture.