Lupe Fiasco has had his paws in the sneaker game since he first broke out, and despite persistently hinting at an early retirement, he’s still cutting records as well as using his celebrity for new sneaker colabs. Judging by the level of thought behind his latest work with Vans, Lupe doesn’t need to be worried about his retirement fund running dry, he’s clearly got an impressive design brain. The Vans OTW Stovepipe silhouette has been taken back to its roots, the tight black leather upper resembles ball-busting stovepipe pants, but the tongue is where the shoe comes to life. Adopting a design aesthetic Lupe calls ‘Native Tongues’, the canvas tongue merges African and Native American prints into a vivid eruption of colours. And if you ask Lupe, it’s more than just a shoe.
“This shoe in title and structure, aesthetic and concept, is an existential testament to the combination of past and present, subtle and overt,” he writes. “A marriage of the modern and the ancient but also suggesting that the labels ‘modern’ and ‘ancient’ themselves are obsolete in the face of the present and the future and that we look to the past through the lens of modernity which transforms the past into something more relative and substantial than just a series of events that happened way ‘back in the day’.” Whoah, heavy!

The Vans OTW x Lupe Fiasco Stovepipe is now available at select Vans OTW Collection retailers.