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Can high fashion survive without sneaker bootlegs?

The 5 most bootlegged sneaker silhouette of all time

Can high fashion survive without sneaker bootlegs? The 5 most bootlegged sneaker silhouette of all time
Visvim Skagway Hi Patten

Visvim Skagway Hi Patten

Daft Punk X Bapesta FS 001

Daft Punk X Bapesta FS 001

A Bathing Ape Bapesta Kanye West College Dropout

A Bathing Ape Bapesta Kanye West College Dropout

Hender Scheme MIP-10 Jordan 4 Natural

Hender Scheme MIP-10 Jordan 4 Natural

Warren Lotas Dunk SB “Pigeon”

Warren Lotas Dunk SB “Pigeon”

Consolidated BS Drunks

Consolidated "BS Drunks"

Dior B23

Dior B23

N.E.R.D. X Bapesta FS 001 Low 'Red'

N.E.R.D. X Bapesta FS 001 Low 'Red'

Fear Of God Basketball Sneaker

Fear Of God Basketball Sneaker

Hood by Air Cool Grey

Hood by Air "Cool Grey"

Rick Owens DRKSHDW Ramones

Rick Owens DRKSHDW Ramones

Marni Technical Fabric

Marni Technical Fabric

Maison Margiela Stereotype High Sneaker

Maison Margiela Stereotype High Sneaker

A Bathing Ape ABC CANVAS APE STA HI

A Bathing Ape ABC CANVAS APE STA HI

Saint Laurent SL/01 Court Classic

Saint Laurent SL/01 Court Classic

Alexander McQueen Oversized low-top sneaker

Alexander McQueen Oversized low-top sneaker

Common Projects Achilles Low

Common Projects Achilles Low

Rick Owens Dunk

Rick Owens "Dunk"

Sang Jordan 1

Sang Jordan 1

Maison Margiela “DDSTCK”

Maison Margiela “DDSTCK”

 Saint Laurent SL10

Saint Laurent SL10

Ari Menthol 10

Ari "Menthol 10"

The universe of fake is a fascinating place. Even more, when sneakers are the protagonists. From the most creative - almost unexpected - versions to the flawless fake (very faithful to the original) there is probably no sneaker on the market that has not been imitated. 

But we often forget to include in this universe the mysterious and often famous knock-offs or bootlegs: sneakers that are not exactly fake but are clearly inspired by models already existing on the market. In fact, the intent of the bootleg is not to completely imitate but to draw on an item and some of its details in order to create a new product.  A recent example is the latest sneakers presented by Virgil Abloh on January 21st during the Louis Vuitton Menswear FW 2021 show. 

The sneaker has collected great attention on social media for its obvious resemblance to the Nike Air Foamposite and more specifically to the Barkley Foamposite. Abloh is certainly no stranger to the phenomenon. The first sneaker made for the French Maison, the LV 408 Trainer, is clearly inspired by the 1988 Avia 880 (as well as the Nike Air Jordan 3). No wonder, over the years many high fashion brands have drawn on the heritage of sportswear brands to create their sneakers.  

nss magazine has decided to retrace the history of bootleg sneakers by analyzing the 5 most bootleg sneakers ever


Nike Air Force 1

There is no silhouette in the world more imitated, the victim of various kinds of experiments, custom and obviously bootleg of the Nike Air Force 1. The most famous is certainly the Bapesta: launched on the market in 2002, the Bape sneaker drew clear inspiration from the then - as always - in vogue Air Force 1 (remember Nelly who in the same year wrote the official Air Force Ones anthem). The vibrant colour combinations and collaborations with artists such as Kanye West, N.E.R.D. and Daft Punk contributed to its popularity. Note of merit also for the mysterious Ari "Menthol 10" a real gauntlet launched to two industry giants, Nike and Newport (cigarette manufacturer).  

A Bathing Ape Bapesta Kanye West College Dropout

A Bathing Ape Bapesta Kanye West College Dropout

Daft Punk X Bapesta FS 001

Daft Punk X Bapesta FS 001

N.E.R.D. X Bapesta FS 001 Low 'Red'

N.E.R.D. X Bapesta FS 001 Low 'Red'

Ari Menthol 10

Ari "Menthol 10"


Nike Air Jordan 1, 4 and 11

Despite the difficulties in reconstructing a real bootleg history, the Sang Jordan 1 could be one of the very first models to mention. In fact, in 1985 the Korean brand tried to reproduce the Air Jordan 1 in the Chicago colourway, replacing the Swoosh with the arrow logo. Over the years, the silhouette par excellence has been a source of inspiration for numerous bootlegs: from the Saint Laurent SL10 to the Fear Of God Basketball Sneaker that also took up the classic Chicago, Bred and Royal colourways.
Impossible not to mention the super-luxury bootlegs by Hender Scheme: among all the silhouette the Air Jordan 4 with its super luxury details has managed to convince even the most sceptical sneakerheads. Air Jordan 4 also recently picked up by Maison Margiela with the new Deadstock Leather Mid-High Sneakers. Honourable mention also for the very brave bootleg of the Air Jordan XI Cool Gray, the Hood by Air "Cool Gray". 

Sang Jordan 1

Sang Jordan 1

 Saint Laurent SL10

Saint Laurent SL10

Fear Of God Basketball Sneaker

Fear Of God Basketball Sneaker

Hender Scheme MIP-10 Jordan 4 Natural

Hender Scheme MIP-10 Jordan 4 Natural

Maison Margiela “DDSTCK”

Maison Margiela “DDSTCK”

Hood by Air Cool Grey

Hood by Air "Cool Grey"


Nike Dunk

One of the most discussed and controversial bootlegs of recent times features the Nike Dunk.
The Warren Lotas case certainly has the merit of having rekindled the controversy over the bootleg phenomenon and how thin the line between homage and imitation is. But Lotas was certainly not the first. At the end of the 90s when Nike decided to launch the SB brand and enter the world of skate, many brands in the sector were not enthusiastic. Consolidated among all, after the collaboration "Send Helps" with Nike, decided in 2006 to release a shoe called "BS Drunks" which took up the colour scheme but replacing the Swoosh with a banana. The motto "Don't Do it" accompanies the launch. Rick Owens was also a victim of the charm of the Nike Dunk. The ancestor of Geobasket the "Dunk" Rick Owens (the nickname given over the years by fans of the brand) was born in 2006 when Rick Owens in the Dustulator collection decided to take inspiration from Nike, adidas and Puma to give life to his personal representation of sneakers. 

Rick Owens Dunk

Rick Owens "Dunk"

Consolidated BS Drunks

Consolidated "BS Drunks"

Warren Lotas Dunk SB “Pigeon”

Warren Lotas Dunk SB “Pigeon”


adidas Stan Smith

The Stan Smith is a white canvas, a sneaker so versatile that it adapts to any taste and any situation. It is no wonder that over the years it has managed to inspire numerous bootlegs, fakes but also collaborations (see the most recent one with Palace). To be mentioned the Common Projects Achilles Low, the Saint Laurent SL / 01 Court Classic but above all the Alexander McQueen Oversized low-top sneaker.

Common Projects Achilles Low

Common Projects Achilles Low

Alexander McQueen Oversized low-top sneaker

Alexander McQueen Oversized low-top sneaker

Saint Laurent SL/01 Court Classic

Saint Laurent SL/01 Court Classic


Converse Chuck Taylor

Since 1917 the Chuck Taylor All-Stars has led the change and history of the sneaker industry and obviously also that of bootlegs. From Bape to Visvim, passing through Maison Margiela and Rick Owens ending with Dior in more recent times, the list of brands that have drawn from the heritage of Chuck Taylor are endless. 

Visvim Skagway Hi Patten

Visvim Skagway Hi Patten

A Bathing Ape ABC CANVAS APE STA HI

A Bathing Ape ABC CANVAS APE STA HI

Rick Owens DRKSHDW Ramones

Rick Owens DRKSHDW Ramones

Maison Margiela Stereotype High Sneaker

Maison Margiela Stereotype High Sneaker

Dior B23

Dior B23


Special: Nike Air Rift

Drawing inspiration from a fascinating but at the same time strange and complicated model like the Nike Air Rift did not seem an easy task, yet someone has succeeded.
Marni's Technical Fabric sneaker is a bootleg that is impossible to give up.

Marni Technical Fabric

Marni Technical Fabric