A History of Luxury Sneaker Copycats

June 4th, 2014 by

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Yesterday, news broke that New Balance is suing Karl Lagerfeld over a sneaker being sold by the German fashion designer that features an awfully NB-looking shape, complete with an “K” across the side in place of the usual “N”. That sort of appropriation is nothing new in terms of luxury brands though, and there are plenty of other pairs on the market that owe varying degrees of their DNA to more pedestrian sneaker designs. Legal activity in this realm isn’t an entirely new thing either – Jordan Brand previously chased down Gourmet for their tributes and even New Balance had previous a win in this category following their settlement with Louis Vuitton over a 574 ripoff from 2009.

Should these companies be allowed to borrow and interpret these classic designs? That’s ultimately up to courts to decide, but it’s still an interesting discussion to have if you care about this sort of blending in the footwear world. It certainly makes sense that the brands involved would want to do everything they can to protect their intellectual property. On the other hand, the luxury versions of these models aren’t 1:1 ripoffs, in most cases they up things in terms of quality with authentic leathers, European production, and the like (Of course the chunkier price tags reflect this). And let’s not forget that the streetwear community at large has given a pass to these sort of brand flips when it comes to clothing. Continue reading for a a handful of of luxury sneaker ripoffs from the past decade and let us know if you approve of the process down in the comments.

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Filed under: Adidas Air Jordan Blazer Featured New Balance Nike Air Force 1s Vandal Vans

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