HomeCar CultureLexus likes sneaker heads, have any in your family?

Lexus likes sneaker heads, have any in your family?

Automaker and streetwear collective create one-off pair inspired by 2021 IS 350 F Sport


If you are of a certain age, you may remember how car dealerships used to cover their windows and then, on a certain date in the fall, the coverings would be removed, and the new model year cars were on display. 

Well, the modern-day equivalent seems to involve the debut of a new smartphone or what you might consider a “gym shoe.”

In the case of the 2021 Lexus IS sport sedan, to enhance its appeal with a new generation of buyers, the car company and streetwear collective RTFKT worked together to unveil a one-of-a-kind — well, actually one pair of a kind — shoe inspired by the IS 350 F Sport Dynamic Handling Package.

Lexus, Lexus likes sneaker heads, have any in your family?, ClassicCars.com Journal
2021 Lexus IS 350

Apparently, this is a big enough deal — one-off pairs draw huge interest from the “sneaker head” set — that there’s a three-part video series — Rubber & Sole — documenting the process.

“From its athletic stance and slimmer headlights to its carbon fiber spoiler and bold color schemes, the IS drove the creative team to design RTFKT’s first pair of footwear inspired by and partly constructed from vehicle materials,” Lexus reported.

“We wanted to make sure when the audience looks at the sneaker they instantly know it is the IS,” Chris Le, creative director and co-founder of RTFKT, is quoted in the Lexus news release. 

“All the intricate design elements come together, and at a first glance it’s a neck breaker,” added Steven Zaptio, RTFKT chief executive and co-founder.

The shoe’s sole resembles a tire, and the shoe design includes the front spindle grille shape. 

“The sides of the sneaker showcase Black NuLuxe with light gray stitching from the seats, with a middle silver stripe inspired by the details of the headlights,” Lexus notes. “The team added an F SPORT branded tag on the side and a Lexus badge covering the top Velcro strap. Lastly, they selected a vibrant blue hue for the sneaker that most closely resembles Grecian Water, a new color for Lexus in 2021.”

Lexus, Lexus likes sneaker heads, have any in your family?, ClassicCars.com Journal
Shoe creation process revealed in 3-part video series
Lexus, Lexus likes sneaker heads, have any in your family?, ClassicCars.com Journal

The Lexus-RTFKT partnership is part of the “All In” IS marketing campaign that “celebrates those who fully embrace their passions, while showcasing its own obsession: an unapologetically pure sport sedan.”

For those unfamiliar with RTFKT, it’s a global collective of more than 150 3D artists who create designs “merging next-gen gaming and sneaker culture.”

While the one-off pair of sneakers won’t be sold, they will be going on tour, in a protective case, at various Lexus-sponsored events during 2021 where sneaker heads, and others, can see them. 

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


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