Even Prada is falling into the Nike Air Force 1 sneaker hype. The fashion house has trudged along the expected path of its Adidas partnership, creating luxe pairs that bridge luxury with lifestyle. But every so often, the brand releases a pair or two of its own, and the latest is raising eyebrows among sneakerheads. Prada recently unveiled a collection of sneakers that bear striking resemblance to two of Nike’s classic silhouettes, the Air Force 1 and the Air Jordan 1.
The Prada effect — Dubbed the “Downtown,” the sneaker is available in color-blocked red, yellow, blue, green, and white. Each pair screams luxury, with Plush leather coating the entire upper. Prada delivers “various interpretations” of its geometric logo, such as its signature enamel triangle badge and more branding on the tongue tag and midsole. The all-white pair is also available in a high-top version, each accented by black outsoles and heel tags.
Prada’s “Downtown” sneakers
Although downtown is typically the heart of a city, every metropolis needs its districts. Prada’s collection also includes a high- and low-top “District” sneaker that’s dressed in the luxury house’s own version of Nike’s black and white “Panda” color scheme. To add even more evidence of Prada’s unoriginality, the District looks like a fraternal Air Jordan 1 with its plush neck, perforated toes, and color-blocking. A healthy serving of branding accompanies these pairs as well, though the lateral branding replaces the enameled logo with a printed one.
What’s mine is yours — In MSCHF Co-Founder Daniel Greenberg’s recent statement about the sneaker industry, he made a comment about brands “being in a constant cycle of riffing on each other.” Although his frustration was in response to a Vans lawsuit, the statement easily applies here. Even the “Downtown” name of these kicks could be attributed to AF1s, which have been referred to as “Uptowns” enough times to make the connection.
Prada has found loose inspiration from other brands in the past, indirectly using the Nike Air Max 95 silhouette as a base for its aptly named Collision Technical Fabric sneaker. It also tapped Converse’s Chuck Taylor for its low and heeled “Synthesis.” Other examples of cross-pollination with authorization include Louis Vuitton’s Air Jordan 3 lookalike LV Trainer, and Reebok and Packers’ Prada-inspired Answer IV.
The “Downtown” and “District” sneakers, priced at $990 and $1,100, respectively, are part of Prada's Summer 2022 Tropico collection. Both are available to purchase right now through Prada’s website and other retailers like Farfetch and Lyst. If you have roughly a grand to spend, what better way to show you’re above the Air Force 1 than with a high-quality dupe?