Jean Paul Gaultier is back in a major way. His eponymous company is being reconfigured with ready-to-wear and couture collections overseen by younger designers that admire the legendary French designer, meaning a fresh audience for both of Gaultier's branches. In fact, the couture line may be the most covetable of them all, considering that sacai used the opportunity to cook up some exclusive Nike sneakers.
Considering that sacai's Nike collaborations are still white-hot commodities — even as the Vaporwaffle and its ilk are consistently reworked — and are very open to outside partnership, it's not too surprising to see Gaultier brought on for some remixed sneakers.
Even with their debut somewhat spoiled by sneaker leakers, the Gaultier x sacai Vaporwaffles are certainly... unusual looking. They definitely have a lot going on. Whether that makes them appealing or not, up to you!
These Vaporwaffles a pretty far cry from sacai's original Nike LDWaffles, which now look like a masterclass in minimalism next to Gaultier’s version. Looks aside — and let's leave them pretty far aside for now — at least the mid-top Vaporwaffles are representative of some notable firsts: not only do they introduce a new shape to the sacai x Nike canon, but these are also Gaultier's first-ever major sneaker collaboration. So there's that.
sacai and Gaultier opted for two makes of this shoe, imagining it in black/white and bold Sesame Blue, which really emphasizes the mix-and-match feel. Oh, and there's ample baseball stitching encircling the leather uppers, making for an, ummmm, interesting look.
The usual double-stacked sacai details remain in place, including a layered outsole, mudguard, and laces, with a hybrid outsole that merges different eras of Nike design. Now, the sneaker reaches for the skies in mid-top form, sporting a taller vamp leading to a heightened ankle opening. There's still a tall tongue to match; doubled-up, naturally.
Like 'em or not, both colorways of the sacai x Gaultier x Nike Vaporwaffles were unexpectedly up for pre-order on Gaultier's site today for €198 (approximately $235). They're now marked as sold out but expect a wider release ahead of their official release by the end of September.