We may be approaching the apex on sneaker culture, but when it comes to music, it’s hard to remember a time when kicks and beats weren’t intertwined. From Run-DMC’s “My Adidas” (stream here) to Nelly’s “Air Force Ones” (stream here), music – and especially hip-hop – has always embraced the athletic shoe as a symbol of status and style. These days, they can also be part of an artist’s overall brand (think Kanye and his Yeezys), as musicians seek new ways to express themselves creatively beyond five lines and four spaces.
From Shawn Mendes to Migos, we’ve rounded up eight pairs of shoes that some of the biggest names in music are wearing today. Whether you’re a serious sneakerhead or a casual fan, here’s what you need to know.
1. Selena Gomez: PUMA Cali
After an extended break from the spotlight, Selena Gomez returned to Instagram this month to reveal her latest collaboration with Puma. The “Cali” is a fresh take on a classic 1980s sneaker, re-tooled with a perforated leather upper, bold design details on the sole and a slightly oversized silhouette that plays up the “chunky sneaker” trend that’s all the rage right now. The shoe comes in five colorways, though we like the white-on-white version for that clean, laid back look. Purchase: $88.00 on PUMA.com.
2. Jaden Smith: New Balance 1700
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Jaden Smith isn’t conventional when it comes to his music or his style, and we wouldn’t expect anything otherwise. Smith’s sneaker of choice: the Louis Vuitton Archlight ($1,090), which is actually a woman’s shoe that Smith pulls off with aplomb. More proof of his daring sartorial choices: Smith attended the New York City premiere of his film, Skate Kitchen, last year in a custom-made hybrid sneaker, that took the bones of these New Balance 1700 sneakers and paired it with the sweeping, springy outsole from his favorite LV kicks. Purchase: New Balance 1700 sneakers, $239.95 on Amazon.com.
3. Pharrell Williams: Adidas Originals SOLARHU
Pharrell has long been a sneaker savant, and his latest collaboration with Adidas showcases the rapper and producer’s forward-thinking aesthetic in rich textures and colorful new silhouettes. The collection includes four shoe styles, along with apparel, bags and accessories (see the full collection here), but we like these SOLARHU sneakers, inspired by East Africa’s vibrant motifs, and the continent’s storied tradition of long-distance running. The shoes feature Adidas’ signature Primeknit material, with a honeycomb-hued colorway and lightweight, adaptive sole. Stylish and flexible, they’re as at ease on the track as they are on the stage. Purchase: $130.00 on Adidas.com.
4. Cardi B: Reebok Aztrek
Cardi B may have shouted out Balenciaga sneakers in her song, “I Like It” (stream here), but when it comes to putting her money where her mouth is, the Bronx-born rapper is taking it to the bank with a new partnership with Reebok. Cardi’s been tapped to promote Reebok’s re-issued “Aztrek” sneaker, which flashes back to the ’90s with retro-inspired styling, muted colors and a wider, chunkier silhouette. The unisex sneaker is available in more than 20 colorways. Cardi follows in the footsteps of Ariana Grande, who helped Reebok re-launch its iconic “Rapide” sneaker last year. Purchase: Reebok Aztrek sneakers, $80.00 on Reebok.com.
5. Migos: Under Armour HOVR Phantom
The guys from Migos spread the love when it comes to their sneaker collection. Case in point: their on-going collaboration with Finish Line (see the full collection here), which highlights favorite shoes from Nike (like the Air Max 270 pictured at the top of the page), Adidas and Under Armour. Quavo, Offset, and Takeoff picked out this pair of HOVR Phantom Running Shoes from Under Armour, which is one of the slicker pairs of kicks from the training brand. It’s got the familiar knit upper for a sock-like fit and feel, but doubles down on design details, with a speckled, high-grade traction outsole, a perforated mid-foot, and layers of interior foam that cushion and cradle your feet as you walk or run. Pair the shoe with Under Armour’s “MapMyRun” app to track your running speed, cadence and shoe’s lifespan. Purchase: $140.00 on FinishLine.com.
6. Shawn Mendes: Nike Free TR 8
Though he’s not as much of a trend-setter as some of the other guys on the list, Shawn Mendes has stepped up his footwear game in recent years. Case in point: these cap-toed leather boots he sported at the 2018 Billboard Music Awards and these minimalist “Bradley” sneakers from CLAE (a cheaper alternative to Common Projects) that his stylist pulled for a recent photoshoot. Mendes has also been pictured heading to the gym in his favorite pair of Nike Frees. The Nike Free TR 8 sneaker is the classic athletic sneaker, combining a clean, two-tone colorway with a ton of technical features to elevate any workout routine, bike ride or run. Grab the shoe in four colorways and a ton of sizes. Purchase: $100 on Nike.com.
7. Justin Bieber: Jordan AJ 1 Mid
Justin Bieber has amassed a huge sneaker collection over the years, but we liked the Fear of God 1987 Basketball “All-Star” kicks he sported at the 2018 NBA All-Star Game. The bad part: only 30 pairs of these Jerry Lorenzo-designed sneaks were released, and most of them were reserved for A-list sneakerheads like the Biebs. You can still find the Fear of God x Nike collab on eBay (though good luck paying less than four dollar signs). Or you can drop a single Benjamin on the pair that inspired the collab: the Air Jordan 1 Mid.
First released in 1985, the black and red colorway was meant to match the colors on Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls jersey, but it violated the NBA’s then-super basic uniform policy (read: no loud colors). That same boldness has stayed with the iconic sneaker over the years, and this latest version bares much of the same design elements as the original, updated with full-grain leather, a perforated toe box and the “Air Jordan Wings” logo on the side. Purchase: $110.00 on FootLocker.com.
8. Kanye West: Karhu Fusion
You already know about the Yeezys (and you can still find them here), but Kanye’s also been spotted rocking a pair of Fusion sneakers from Karhu — an old-school Finnish footwear brand that specializes in technical shoes for the outdoors. These Fusion 2.0 sneakers were first introduced in the ’90s as a hybrid running and hiking shoe. The latest version features a mixed suede and leather upper, hiking laces and color-block design details. The boxy silhouette was meant to give you a comfortable fit and solid grip on the trails, but it also checks off all the boxes right now when it comes to that chunky sneaker style. Some have accused Kanye of copying Karhu’s designs for his Yeezy Wave Runner 700 shoe; we’re just happy to see an independent Scandinavian footwear brand get some shine. Purchase: Karhu Fusion 2.0 sneakers, $145.45 on Amazon.com.
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