Louis Vuitton’s chunky skate shoes pay homage to Virgil Abloh

Much like the designer’s past work, the shoes are also a nod to Nike models like the Dunk Low and Air Jordan 6.

Even after the loss of Virgil Abloh, Louis Vuitton seems to be continuing its streetwear streak. Two new skating sneakers, dubbed the “High 8” and LVSK8,” have surfaced from the French fashion house donning plush tongues, mesh details, and rubber mudguards. Sure to be the biggest flex at the skate park, the shoes look as as functional as they are fresh, with features akin to Nike’s own skating models

A range of familiar two and tri-tone palettes make the High 8 and LVSK8 sneakers even more comparable to Nike’s Dunk — a silhouette long embraced by both the skating community and Abloh, who reworked the sneaker a number of times. Added contour lines, accent stitching, and perforated padding on the collars also resemble those found on Nike’s Jordan 6, calling back to Abloh’s practice of creating designer dupes. The High 8 and LVSK8 sneakers could very well be remnants from the artistic director’s reign, which empowered the modifiers, the remixers, the curators, and anyone else once on the outside looking in on the fashion industry.

Sk8ter sneaker — Similarities aside, the High 8 and LVSK8 are definitely as hot as Nike’s own skating models, and will likely be just as coveted. The high top, with leather uppers and leather soles, features Louis Vuitton’s signature monogram logo at its sides and “Vuitton” branding at its heels. Thick foam lines its tongue in a wave-like pattern, while floral motifs decorate the outsole. So far, palettes seem to range from black and yellow; blue and white; black, gray, and white; and white, gray, and red.

The LVSK8 low top simplifies the High 8’s branding, replicating the same floral motifs on its outsole but doing away with flashy monogram logos. Instead, another floral motif adorns the sides of the sneaker with suede and leather overlays, sitting atop a mesh layer. Retro-looking “LV1854,” “Vuitton,” and “LV54” branding calls out to the year the luxury fashion house was founded.

A diamond-encrusted mudguard decorates the forefoot for added elegance, while thick, rope-like laces play into the shoe’s durability. Colors similar to those seen on Nike’s Dunk — including pink and white; navy and white; black and red; and dark green and yellow — dress the assortment of low top sneakers.

Alboh’s legacy — Both the High 8 and LVSK8 are expected to release later this year, although Louis Vuitton has yet to announce the collection of skating shoes (or their inevitably overpriced cost). Still, the sneakers play into the fashion house’s larger commitment to skateboarding, which can largely be credited to Abloh’s influence.

While Louis Vuitton collaborated with Supreme in 2017, it created its first shoe designed specifically for skateboarding under Abloh and pro skateboarder Lucien Clarke, who it signed in 2020 in a first-of-its-kind partnership. In tune with its artistic director’s streetwear roots — and Clarke’s skateboarding background — the LV skate sneaker was advertised in the pages of Thrasher magazine.

Abloh, who passed away last year after a private battle with cancer, consistently used his platform at Louis Vuitton to showcase people overlooked by the luxury fashion industry. Skaters, graffiti artists, and budding Black designers were often invited to work alongside the artistic director, appearing on runways and in advertisements to challenge luxury norms and question who the designs were really meant for. Although it’s unclear whether Abloh helped create the High 8 and LVSK8 sneakers, his influence is undeniable.