ARTICLE BY Boon Mark Souphanh

The Most ‘WTF?!’ Collaborations of 2021 (So Far)

jean paul gaultier sacai header

In the whirlwind that is the sneaker release calendar, it’s easy to get lost among all the chaos. From the general release drops to the designer collaboration delights, keeping track of everything can sometimes feel like a blur. However, every now and again, there’s a release that makes use go ‘whoa’… Or in some cases, ‘what the f**k?!’

A number of recent colabs have raised the community’s collective eyebrows, and it’s not always for the right reasons. These are the most ‘WTF’ sneaker collaborations of 2021 (so far).

cardi B reebok

Reebok Cardi Coated Club C Double/Club C Cardi

After announcing their partnership back in 2018, it’s taken a while for the Cardi B x Reebok train to get moving and, strangely, things appear to be full steam ahead in 2021. After dropping a swag of Club C reworks in late 2020, Cardi’s back with more bright colourways of her Cardi Coated Club C Double and the Club C Cardi. Was the double dose of Cardi a bit too much? We’ll leave that one up to you.

billie eilish air jordan 1 ko
via @pvasneakers

Billie Eilish x Air Jordan 1 KO

Known for her soft and angelic tones, Billie Eilish went loud for her upcoming Air Jordan 1 KO collaboration alongside Jordan Brand. The AJ1 KO has made a low-key comeback in 2021, with Billie and the Jumpman set to deliver this sneaker alongside a collaborative Air Jordan 15. Considering her avant-garde approach to pop music, many expected the same from this sneaker. Unfortunately, we cant even say it matches her hair anymore...

sacai x Jean Paul Gaultier x Nike Vaporwaffle
sacai x Jean Paul Gaultier x Nike Vaporwaffle
via Sacai

sacai x Jean Paul Gaultier x Nike VaporWaffle

To mark the end of his 50-year career in high fashion, Jean Paul Gaultier stated: ‘Gaultier Paris will continue, high fashion will continue. I have a new concept; I’ll tell you about it later, I’ll tell you all the little secrets. But it will continue.’

Well, by ‘continue’ he meant inviting a cast of creatives to pick up his couture scissors, the first of which was sacai’s Chitose Abe. Finessing the Gaultier Fall 2020 collection, Abe debuted what would become one of the most divisive sneakers of 2021: the sacai x Jean Paul Gaultier x Nike VaporWaffle.

Considering the understated charm of her previous Nike collaborations, these maximalist high-tops were a case of sac-why? for many.

yeezy 450
via @wideawakeearthquake
yeezy 450
via @yankeekicks

Yeezy 450

Kanye West and Yeezy have ramped up production and, while the 700 line has been the main focus, the Yeezy 450 takes the title as Yes biggest bombshell of 2021 (alongside his new album, of course).

It may look WTF but, at its core, its very much a Yeezy design. The upper is made with a knit material and moulded into a sock around the ankle, while a wrap-around cage comes standard. Miss the old Kanye? This is the old Kanye.

off-white nike dunk low the 50
off-white nike dunk low the 50

‘The 50’ Off-White x Nike Dunk Lows

What can we say that hasnt already been said about The 50. Off-White head honcho Virgil Abloh deserved all the kudos when he announced “THE TEN” back in 2017. However, dialling things up five-fold hasnt quite garnered the same widespread admiration. Sneaker math doesnt always work like that.

Time will tell whether Mr ‘3% Rule’ has delivered another collaborative masterstroke, but one things for sure: these wont sit.

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