With a new consumer market seeking something other than flashy labels, Louis Vuitton is switching up its sneaker offerings. The luxury label has unveiled Charlie, its first unisex and most eco-friendly design yet, made of 90 percent recycled and bio-sourced materials.
And while the name itself may appeal to Gen Z shoppers — thanks to Charli D’Amelio, queen of TikTok, of course — the sneaker steps into other traits desirable to the younger generation. Forbes reports that 62 percent of Zoomers prefer to shop sustainably, while CNBC claims the generation has influenced many brands to produce gender-neutral products. Louis Vuitton’s latest sneaker lies at the heart of Gen Z’s values — question is, will they be able to afford it?
Reduce, reuse, redesign — Featuring a white upper made of smooth recycled polyester and Biopolioli, a corn-based plastic, the shoe looks fairly similar to Nike’s Blazer sneaker, though Louis Vuitton’s massive logo replaces the Swoosh. The luxury footwear also proves more sustainable, even flaunting recycled laces, a sole crafted out of 94 percent recycled rubber, and tongue and heel branding made of ECONYL®, derived from nylon waste. Inside the Charlie sneaker, recycled polyurethane and recycled polyester make up the insole and lining.
As a brand notorious for attention to detail, Louis Vuitton has redesigned its signature packaging to follow through on its responsible sneaker approach. The brand plans to protect its new shoes with felt made from TENCEL (branded fibers from renewable wood sources), while the accompanying shoebox, crafted from 100 percent recycled cardboard, can be turned into a transportable bag — although campaign imagery has yet to confirm this claim.
Coming this fall — Louis Vuitton’s Charlie sneaker is slated to arrive November 12, ensuring we’ll get a closer look at the unisex shoe — and its recycled packaging — later on in the year. For now, the brand has announced the Charlie sneaker will debut in both low and high-top styles in a size run from 3 to 13.
At $1,080 and $1,130 respectively, the eco-friendly sneakers will cost just as much (if not more) as Louis Vuitton’s other shoes bearing luxury details like leather and embroidery. And while some may not be open to spending obscene amounts of money on something made of recycled materials — and corn-based plastic — others will jump at the opportunity to buy the exclusive product, which will likely be produced in limited quantities.
Especially if LV recruits Charli D’Amelio to model its footwear — which it has in the past — the Charlie sneaker will likely sell out. Nowadays, $1,000 is a small price to pay for TikTok-famous looks.