Jaden Smith is starring in Louis Vuitton’s latest womenswear campaign. COMME des GARÇONS, Rei Kawakubo disciples and countless other designers — especially those in the East and, in particular, Japanese avant-garde fashion — continue to move away from gender-specific silhouettes. Even Kanye West’s Yeezy Season drops barely differentiate between male and female and are further unified by their color palette. Seemingly everywhere you turn in the world of fashion, traditional notions of masculinity and femininity are being flipped on their heads in favor of a more gender-neutral aesthetic.
The shift has been especially obvious in the realm of footwear — in fact, you may have noticed that a bevy of releases — Nike’s especially — are now labelled as “unisex” (the Flyknit Racer, most notably). Ronnie Fieg‘s retrospective GEL-Lyte III “Homage” was even crafted in men’s and women’s sizes alike as he offered up the kicks at the brand new KITH Women store in Manhattan. And while women have for years been sizing down to rock men’s kicks, a lot of men can’t really size up to sport a ladies-only release.
This is especially a problem when it comes to designs like the Nike Free Viritous. With its technical look, Free cushioning, and clear Huarache lineage (not to mention of a number of predominately black and grey colorways), the Viritous was one of the best sneakers of 2015 — gender be damned — and, perhaps, the standout of NSW’s fall/winter pack of Tech Fleece-constructed kicks. But, since the silhouette only goes up to a US women’s size 12 (a US men’s 10), the kicks were undoubtedly missed out on by many who would have eagerly copped.
So, while we’re on the subject of missed opportunities, here are a number of kicks from Nike and adidas — led by the Viritous — that we hope will eventually shed their “ladies-only” designation so us non-small-footers can rock them, too.