What happens when sneakerheads get ahold of a luxury sport sedan? RTFKT creative collective and Lexus teamed up to find out.
To celebrate the launch of the 2021 Lexus IS, RTFKT reveals its one-of-one shoe featuring design elements inspired by the IS 350 F Sport Dynamic Handling Package. From its athletic stance and slimmer headlights to its carbon fiber spoiler and bold color schemes, the IS drove the creative team to design RTFKT’s first pair of footwear inspired by and partly constructed from vehicle materials.
“We wanted to make sure when the audience looks at the sneaker they instantly know it is the IS,” said 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,” added Steven Zaptio, CEO and co-founder of RTFKT.
The RTFKT team first selected a base with a sole closely resembling a tire for their custom silhouette. Features on the front are shaped like the vehicle’s signature spindle grille, with 3D printed material imitating the carbon fiber spoiler of the car. The sides of the sneaker showcase Black NuLuxe with light gray stitching from the seats, with a middle silver stripe inspired by the details of the headlights. The team added an F SPORT branded tag on the side and a Lexus badge covering the top Velcro strap. Lastly, they selected a vibrant blue hue for the sneaker that most closely resembles Grecian Water, a new color for Lexus in 2021.
RTFKT and entertainment media company Complex documented the sneaker creation process in a three-part video series, “Rubber & Sole,” now live on Complex.com. In the first episode the team is challenged to create a bespoke shoe inspired by the 2021 Lexus IS. Zaptio and Le take notes, from its newly designed spindle grill down to its NuLuxe interior, using the vehicle as their muse. The second video shows the ideation of the sneaker, from sketching designs to prototyping and materials sourcing. The third and final episode – debuting today – showcases the final details of the sneaker and explains how it is derived from the IS.
This partnership is part of the “All In” campaign for the new 2021 Lexus IS, where the automaker celebrates those who fully embrace their passions, while showcasing its own obsession: an unapologetically pure sport sedan.
“RTFKT put the same passion into developing this one-of-a-kind shoe that we did in developing the new 2021 Lexus IS,” said Vinay Shahani, vice president of Lexus marketing. “Steven and Chris delivered a head-turning sneaker that unmistakably mirrors the bold design and impressive performance of the IS.”
Founded by Zaptio and Le, RTFKT is a global collective of designers merging next-gen gaming and sneaker culture and works with more than 150 3D artists to create its designs. The studio focuses on one-of-a-kind creations, from color-changing sneakers made from futuristic materials to digital-only virtual collectibles. Their special edition sneaker inspired by the 2021 Lexus IS sport sedan will not be available for sale.