The Adidas homage feels a little late…which might be the point.
From roughly 2014 until 2016, the Adidas Stan Smith was the coolest sneaker on the planet. The everyman version retailed for $70 and were worn by, well, everyone—including high-end designers, like then-Celine’s Phoebe Philo and Raf Simons, who wore theirs with pride. (Raf also made his own version with Adidas that still is on shelves and retails for $320.) But today, Stan Smiths have lost some of their fashionable glow, as oversized, bulky dad sneakers and “snockers” have elbowed old-world, low-key kicks out of the spotlight. It’s not exactly a coincidence that both boomed thanks, in part, to Demna Gvasalia, the ultra-cheeky designer behind Vetements (and, uh, Balenciaga). And now, Gvasalia’s Zurich-based label is going back in time, applying its own spin to the one-time sneaker-world champ. Unsurprisingly, the Vetements flip is one of the most expensive Stan Smith-inspired sneakers ever made.
Vetements is hardly the first brand to be inspired by Adidas’s classic design. The list of would-be interpreters includes heavy hitters and bargain brands alike: Visvim, Greats, Isabel Marant, and even Skechers, the latter of which found themselves in court because their version was a little too on the nose. Like the original, the Vetements take is a simple white sneaker with a pop of color on the heel. And in place of the perforated three stripes (or the “R” that graces the Raf version) is an all over design that reads, as you might expect, “Vetements.” Their version comes in red, dark blue, and green versions—the same original three iterations offered of the Stan Smith. Point is, there’s no secret why these sneakers look the way they do—what’s more surprising is that Vetements, a label always seemingly on the cutting edge, is getting in on the Stan Smith craze at a time when the Stan Smith craze has hit a definite ebb. (Of course, Gvasalia’s line tends toward the trollish—maybe the most progressive fashion move you can make is making no-longer-cool sneakers?)
The good news: Stan Smiths are never, ever going to go out of style. In the pantheon of great white tennis shoes, they’re easily in the top five, and probably closer to the top…one. And we get the inherent appeal of flexing on your friends’ $70 Stans by sporting a pair made by one of the hottest brands on the planet that cost ten times the price. It’s a high price to pay—but if you’re buying into Vetements’ idea of turning everyday garments into high-fashion statement pieces, then there’s no better way to do it than with these sneakers.