Travis Scott has dropped the latest addition to his Utopia album launch – a pair of Nike Air Force 1 trainers.
What makes these new kicks extraordinary is that Scott has done virtually nothing to them. They have not been reworked in unexpected colours, no premium materials have been added, nor has the famous Nike swoosh been reversed – all features from previous Scott x Nike collaborations.
Instead, Scott has left the pair virtually unaltered from its original state – even down to the all-white colouring – and has just scrawled the name of the album, Utopia, and the logo for Cactus Jack, his record label, on the outside heel.
That's it, folks.
Despite this ultra-minimalist design, the $150 trainers have sold out just three days after launch.
Having collaborated with Nike many times on limited-edition Air Jordans and Air Force 1s, Scott is accustomed to upending things in imaginative ways. On past editions, he has added a zipped pocket and Velcro straps to the Grey Haze; removable, rainproof spats to the Air Trainer 1 SP Chocolate; and added a zip-close laces cover to the Air Force 1 Low Cactus Jack.
The sheer lack of disruption in this latest series is, to put it mildly, a little out of character.
There is something to be said for not messing with the Air Force 1, however. With its clean, minimal look, it is an unmistakable classic that sits in many wardrobes the world over, and is a cornerstone of every sneakerhead's collection thanks to its low-rider design and simple detailing.
So, while Scott's latest take is minimalist in the extreme, he is far from alone in not wanting to fix something that clearly ain't broke.
In 2004, Eminem released the Shady Records Air Force 1, which came untouched save for a Shady Records logo blocked in black on the heel, while Supreme's Air Force 1 in 2021 had its name stamped on the heel in bright red and came with matching red laces.
Rapper Jay-Z helped kick-start the obsession with this shoe model in 1999 with his barely-there take that was limited to 100 pairs. With the rapper's Roc-A-Fella Records stamp high up on the heel, it started a trend that Scott is merely tapping into now.
So could this new shoe herald an era of zero-fuss trainers that will see the demand for evermore outlandish kicks wear thin?
It seems doubtful, especially as Scott's own style is simple yet eclectic, with a strong leaning towards custom-made pieces from his favourite designers.
Keen on donning made-to-order items, be it a Givenchy belt by Matthew Williamson, or a bespoke piece by Virgil Abloh at Louis Vuitton, Scott's love of making an entrance is not going anywhere soon. His enduring preference for oversized jackets and jeans, skinny-fit tops and riotous colour suggests that these latest, understated AF1s are a blip rather than the norm.
And perhaps that's why they have been snapped up so quickly.