Virgil Abloh and Louis Vuitton have just unveiled the designer’s first sneaker for the fashion house, the LV 408 Trainer. The new kick features a high-top construction that takes cues from basketball shoes — one model in particular.
Keen-eyed sneakerheads have already noted how the black and gray colorway and outsole recalls the Nike Air Jordan 3, but the real inspiration for Abloh’s debut Louis Vuitton sneaker would seem to be the 1988 Avia 880.
Avia was founded by former University of Oregon discus thrower Jerry Stubblefield in 1979 and gained moderate success in the ’80s. Despite being based in Beaverton, Oregon, the label was unconnected with Nike, although the two brands did trade lawsuits in the early ’90s.
At $90, the Avia 880 was a slightly cheaper alternative to the Air Jordan 3, which retailed for $100 at the time. The 880 was worn by Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls teammate Scottie Pippen and Clyde Drexler of the Portland Trail Blazers.
Looking at both sneakers side by side, the LV 408 Trainer’s upper is practically a spitting image of the 880, with a slightly extended tongue (albeit missing Avia’s cartoony branding) and an ankle strap. The toe box also features a similar overlay running around the edge, while the lace stays on both models have more than passing similarities. Check out both shoes below.
This piece by Defy New York, however, details how a number of design features on the LV 408 Trainer can be traced to multiple sneaker models by various brands. As our recent feature about fast-fashion and luxury sneakers suggests, imitation is the highest form of flattery. And in the sneaker world, that counts double.
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