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RTFKT has designed a pair of Lexus sneakers

Mantle Magazine

The creative collective teamed up with Lexus to make kicks inspired by the IS 350.

RTFKT has been in the news a lot since last year, and for good reason: they design extremely unique sneakers. The creative collective has come up with pairs based on Tesla’s Cybertruck and even ones based on old Atari games. Their sneaker designs range from the kitschy to the extremely out there.

Only, you’d never get to actually wear them. At least, not in the real world. 

RTFKT mostly creates virtual wear. What this means is you can use them for your social media photos, video games, and other online applications. And in a world that’s been forced to stay at home, relying on digital connections more and more, this kind of apparel makes sense. 

But when Lexus decided to make an actual sneaker for the release of the 2021 IS, they looked to RTFKT to design one for them. This time, it would exist in the real world. 

Using the IS 350 F Sport as inspiration, the team then set off to make a sneaker that’s as close to the vehicle’s looks as possible.

The sneaker takes its inspiration from the Lexus IS 350.
Photo: Lexus

“We wanted to make sure when the audience looks at the sneaker they instantly know it is the IS,” says Chris Le, creative director and co-founder of RTFKT. “All the intricate design elements come together, and at a first glance it’s a neckbreaker,” adds Steven Zaptio, CEO and co-founder of RTFKT. 

The front of the sneaker resembles the Lexus’ trademark spindle grille, and 3D-printed material was used to emulate the carbon fiber spoiler of the car. The sides use the same light gray stitching that can be found on the seats, and the silver stripe in the  middle is meant to evoke the details of the headlights. 

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An F SPORT branded tag has been attached to the side and a Lexus badge covers the top strap. But most strikingly, the sneaker is done in a vibrant blue, which is quite close to Grecian Water: a new color for Lexus in 2021.

RTFKT broke down the IS 350’s design elements and translated them into sneaker form.
Photo: Lexus

All of this has resulted in a sneaker that’s sleek, aggressive, and futuristic: making it far more wearable than what RTFKT has come up with in the past.

But here’s the catch: this run is going to be a one-off and won’t be coming up for sale. So while it is an RTFKT design that can possibly be worn, no one will actually get to wear them unless they’re from Lexus. Maybe not even then. This pair, like NFT art or bitcoin, is most likely going to be kept in storage.

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