Top 5: Frank Ocean’s Best Sneaker Moments
From deconstructionist DIY hacks on the Nike Mars Yard Overshoe, to his arrival at The White House in Vans Slip–Ons, Frank Ocean has been killing the sneaker game in suits, studios and festivals across the globe. While we wait for the slow, sweet drip of new Frank Ocean music to form, let’s take a look at his most significant sneaker moments so far.
5. Bikin’ for Bizness
The Cactus Plant Flea Market Nike VaporMax was one of the most hyped releases of 2019, the stitched taping, puff lettering and garden hose Swoosh (literally) blasting onto the scene back in May. Curated by Cynthia Lu, the sneakers have been laced by Lil Uzi Vert, A$AP Rocky and Travis Scott, but it was perhaps best articulated by Frank Ocean, who pulled up in New York City riding a vintage Klein Attitude equipped with Shimano XTR M900. Pairing the Cactus Plant Flea Market Nike VaporMax with dress pants, checked tie and suit jacket, Frank showed us just how charismatic commuting can look in NYC.
4. JW Anderson Heat
In 2017, Frank Ocean pulled up to FYF Fest in JW Anderson’s unreleased Chuck 70. Previously teased during Anderson’s SS18 menswear range in Pitti Uomo, Frank paired the psychedelic, mismatched Converse high-tops with a tidy vintage Nike ‘Instant Karma’ t-shirt and loose blue cargo pants.
It’s the first time JW Anderson collaborated with a major sneaker label, with Frank’s seal of approval no doubt elevating the hype levels to new heights.
3. The Vans Sk8–Hi Colab
Oh, what could’ve been. During the lead up to Blonde, speculation was rife that Frank was linking up with his favourite sneaker brand for a banana-coloured Vans Sk8-Hi. Complex originally reported that the Vans were never intended to go into production, but that the colourway was indeed designed by Frank himself. A Vans colab is definitely on the cards given the fact that Frank’s best bud, Tyler, The Creator, dropped the candy-coloured Golf Wang Old Skool way back in 2015.
What would you like to see from a Frank Ocean sneaker?
We’ve got our toes crossed…
2. A Vans Slip–On at The White House
Not many people could rock up to Barack Obama’s White House state dinner in Vans. Then again, not many people share Frank Ocean’s sense of swag (Well, maybe Jimmy Butler.) Pairing his checkered Vans Slip-Ons with a crisp navy suit, Frank arrived with his mother Katonya Breaux. The perceived fashion faux pas led to Frank’s first interview in three years. ‘I have to ask you about the shoes’, one reporter asked. ‘What was the thinking behind the Vans?’
‘You can’t think, you just have to do things’, Frank responded.
Other guests included fellow sneakerheads Jerry Seinfeld and Chance the Rapper.
1. ‘Just Two Shoes I mutilated’
Friend and frequent collaborator Tom Sachs has been helping Frank Ocean execute his creative concepts for some time now, the contemporary artist recently lending a hand for Frank’s Endless livestream and Boys Don’t Cry magazine. In December last year, it was Frank’s turn to embrace a DIY, deconstructionist attitude, peeling away the paper covering on Tom Sachs Mars Yard Overshoe to reveal his own playful take on the genre-busting silhouette. Causing even more commotion was Frank’s left sneaker, another Nike Mars Yard 2.0 custom seemingly dyed black, although the jury is still out on whether these are customs, PEs, or early samples of Toms Sachs’ Mars Yard.
‘Just two shoes I mutilated’ Frank Ocean wrote in the comments.
What did Tom Sachs think of Frank Ocean’s artistic interpretation?
‘Good work #brocolage,’ Sachs responded.