Virgil Abloh’s Louis Vuitton x Nike Air Force 1 Wins Shoe of the Year, a Testament to the Designer’s Lasting Legacy

Even a year after his passing, Virgil Abloh is still making an impact in the footwear space.

The Louis Vuitton x Nike Air Force 1 by Virgil Abloh was honored as Shoe of the Year at the 36th annual FN Achievement Awards. Nike VP Roderick Blaylock presented the award, which was accepted by Virgil’s wife Shannon Abloh, CEO and managing director of Virgil Abloh Securities.

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“Collaboration was at the heart of everything Virgil created,” said Shannon, speaking via video. “Let’s all raise a glass and cheers to Virgil.”

Abloh died in late November last year at age 41 after a two year battle with cancer. He was the artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear collections since 2018, and had led his own streetwear brand Off-White since 2012. He also designed countless hits for Nike and Jordan Brand, including his line of deconstructed Nike icons in his “The Ten” collection. Abloh was awarded the Shoe of the Year for the Air Jordan 1 in this collection at the 2017 Footwear News Achievement Awards.

In his acceptance speech at the time, Abloh explained the importance of showing up to work as if it is a dream job.

“This award, to me, is representative of my emotion as an intern. That emotion of showing up to this dream job — or let’s even go back further — that emotion of dreaming of a dream job, showing up and proving you can add ideas to an industry that’s already set in its ways, that always delivers great things,” Abloh explained in 2017.

Five years later, Abloh’s legacy persists. The Louis Vuitton x Nike Air Force 1 blends street culture and high fashion and is considered by many to be a suitable final statement in Abloh’s prolific career.

In February, Sotheby’s auctioned 200 pairs of the Louis Vuitton x Nike Air Force 1, bringing in $25.3 million — the auction house’s highest charity total in nearly 10 years — with proceeds benefitting The Virgil Abloh “Post-Modern” Scholarship Fund. The top lot in the auction, which was for a size 5, brought in $352,800, which Sotheby’s said is more than 23 times its $15,000 high estimate.

“The Louis Vuitton x Nike Air Force 1 perfectly encapsulated Virgil’s artistic vision and his deep admiration for a classic sneaker,” Shannon Abloh said. “Building on Nike’s timeless Air Force 1 with Louis Vuitton’s unparalleled elegance, the shoe is simply beautiful. I’ve loved seeing it resonate in culture and I’m thrilled to see it honored with the Shoe of the Year award, an incredible achievement for everyone who contributed to this collaboration.”

For 36 years, the annual FN Achievement Awards — often called the “Shoe Oscars” — have celebrated the style stars, best brand stories, ardent philanthropists, emerging talents and industry veterans. The 2022 event is supported by presenting sponsor Nordstrom, as well as Caleres, FDRA, Merrell, Vibram and Volumental. 

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