5 High-End Basketball-Turned-Luxury Sneakers for Spring

With the NBA Finals on the horizon, there’s plenty of reason to acknowledge the court-inspired silhouettes, from sportswear to luxury offerings. Especially prevalent in the collections of designer brands, these sneakers feature a similar aesthetic as styles like the Jordan 1Nike Dunks and Adidas Forums that helped put basketball sneakers on the radar of sneaker enthusiasts and athletes.

The definitive elements that make up a basketball sneaker that have been carried over to the luxury realm are the triangular toe box, the downward sloping midsole and the circular outsole pattern that was initially implemented in basketball shoes to assist players in pivoting motions. The difference is that the luxury renditions are typically created with higher-end leathers and materials, and focus less on branding and vibrant colors. These shoes are typically crafted to wear with any wardrobe style, from minimalist to maximalist.

Here are five luxury court-inspired icons that have carved out their own space for sneakerheads and fashion enthusiasts:

common projects white
Mr. Porter

Common Projects BBall

The Common Projects BBall silhouette is a follow-up to the brand’s renowned Achilles Low. Typically offered in opulent calfskin leathers or suedes, this silhouette features a paneled leather upper with perforations on the toe. Mirroring the shape of a Nike Dunk, this low-top trainer also incorporates a pair of leather insoles to maximize comfort, while the only visible exterior branding is the serial number stamped onto the heel.

While the shoe has commonly been offered in an assortment of neutral colors like sandy beige and rich navy, the most popular rendering seems to be the all-white version, as it is simple to pair with just about anything, from cropped trousers to slim-fit jeans or even premium sweatpants.

The Common Projects BBall is now available at select retailers, such as Mr. Porter.

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golden goose ball star yellow
Mr. Porter

Golden Goose Ball Star

Golden Goose has become an acclaimed luxury footwear icon because of its signature design aesthetic that blends distressed details with popular sneaker shapes. Made from tannery-sourced grades of leather, the shoes are carefully destroyed with scuffs, burnishes and even hand-drawn icons that resemble Sharpie doodles to form a one-of-a-kind aesthetic.

While styles like the Superstar and the Francy are the brand’s most recognized sneakers, the Ball Star is gaining traction while the court trend becomes a go-to design influence. Similar to the Converse Weapon, this model also bears a chevron-and-star motif, while its circular outsole and sloping midsole call on original design cues to enhance on-court performance.

While the distressed and DIY trend has become familiar to footwear design as of late, Golden Goose started doing it back in 2002, and these elements have become a brand staple. The Ball Star continues this look, featuring a beat-up aesthetic that’s typically offered in classic two-toned sports team–inspired colors.

The Golden Goose Ball Star is now available at select retailers, such as Mr. Porter.

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saint laurent white sneaker
Matches Fashion

Saint Laurent Travis

While Adidas isn’t necessarily a leader of nostalgic basketball sneakers, it does have several silhouettes like the Superstar and the Forum that have since inspired on-court basketball styles.

The Saint Laurent Travis draws evident design cues from the Adidas Forum, featuring an elegant calfskin leather on the upper with distressed markings and perforations throughout. The creases along the toe box and burnished midsoles enhance the worn-in aesthetic, while the Velcro strap is an homage to the design of the Adidas Forum Low. Lastly, this shoe is also offered with a premium gum application that was popular on basketball sneakers of the ’80s for better traction.

The Saint Laurent Travis is now available at Saint Laurent accounts, such as Matches Fashion.

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nike fear of god basketball sneaker 1

Fear of God Basketball High Sneaker

Jerry Lorenzo’s Fear of God label burst onto the scene in 2014, blurring the lines between luxury and streetwear aesthetics with its coveted collection of wardrobe staples. Several years after its ready-to-wear collections and Vans collaborations, the brand introduced several of its own in-house footwear styles.

Lorenzo himself grew up on grunge and sports culture, which is evident in his latest Fear of God Nike offerings. Before getting an official Nike project, he introduced Fear of God’sBasketball High Top Sneaker. The shoe initially appeared in classic Jordan 1 color-blocking with obvious representations of the “Bred and Black Toe” renditions, featuring black and red paneling on the leather uppers. However, unlike the basketball shoe, this sneaker has the same midsole as the Fear of God military boot.

The Fear of God Basketball High Sneaker is now available at select retailers, such as Barneys.

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off white off court sneaker 1
Saks Fifth Avenue

Off-White Off Court Sneakers

The offerings in Virgil Abloh’s The Ten Nike collaboration have become some of the most popular sneakers, still infiltrating social media feeds. Abloh’s first Jordan 1 project utilized the Chicago color-blocking, which is mirrored in his Off-White Off Court Sneakers. This silhouette features the brand’s signature inside-out aesthetic with retro design cues, like the yellowed midsole and nylon tongue accents.

These shoes blend an opulent suede or leather application on the heel panels and toe, while the rest of the upper is highlighted with a canvas and nylon fabric. Stamped with the brand’s signature arrows, this shoe is also embroidered with orange tongue tags and the label’s classic red zip-ties on the eyestay.

The Off-White Off Court Sneakers are now available at select retailers, such as Saks Fifth Avenue.

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