Style

A$AP Rocky’s unreleased Vans slip-on is the perfect post-pandemic shoe

A simple style as refined as the rapper himself.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 30: A$AP Rocky is seen on June 30, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Gotham/GC Images)
Gotham/GC Images/Getty Images

In May, A$AP Rocky told GQ he had a Vans sneaker collaboration arriving “soon.” The rapper, in true celebrity fashion, kept details about the partnership vague, only implying he’d “completely reinvented” Vans’ classic Slip-On sneaker — a claim that didn’t seem too outlandish given Rocky’s devotion to elevated streetwear and the Vans’ silhouette.

Two months later, we’ve gotten our first look at the collaboration thanks to paparazzi shots of Rocky donning a pair in NYC. But the unreleased footwear — a white Slip-On mule bearing Vans’ signature flame graphics on its sides — doesn’t necessarily live up to the rapper’s reinvention claims, nor the high expectations that accompanied such remarks. Still, the simple style will likely sell out thanks to the famous face attached to it.

Coming A$AP — And expectations aside, the sneaker is arguably fresh. Its mule design, while not entirely new to Vans, is on-trend and fitting for consumers leaving behind their quarantine slippers. An all-white upper guarantees the shoe looks as clean as Rocky himself as smaller flame graphics add a street-style flair to the kicks. Fans of the rapper, or his style in general, are guaranteed to ensure the sneaker sells out in minutes.

There’s no date set for the Vans release yet, though Rocky told GQ that the collaboration’s release would be “exclusive” — as if we could imagine anything less. But this remark may hint at limited stock, which often applies to celebrity partnerships. While A$AP has become more of a household name since his last shoe collaboration — a stint with Under Armour in 2018 delivered his SRLo (Skate, Rave, Lo) sneaker — only 250 pairs of each color scheme (500 in total) dropped in a surprise release, leaving fans scrambling to buy the rapper’s design. And as one of the few shoes dropped by A$AP, the SRLo shoes sell for as much as $60,000 on resale websites.

Vans joins the big leagues — Keeping this demand and potential profit in mind, resellers will no doubt accompany fans during the drop of A$AP’s Slip-On mule. Vans will have to create a release that limits people looking to flip the sneaker, while also allowing enthusiasts to get first dibs. But said launch is much easier said than done — and Vans doesn’t necessarily have the same expertise as bigger brands like Nike or Adidas.

Styled with ease.

Gotham/GC Images/Getty Images
Gotham/GC Images/Getty Images
Gotham/GC Images/Getty Images

Rocky’s Slip-On mules may mark one of the few Vans models to garner clout in the streetwear world: Without a recognizable Swoosh or Three Stripes, the brand has seemingly struggled to bring in a profit — most recently ripping off Crocs and debuting a caged sneaker reminiscent of Swiss cheese — and collaborations are known money-makers in the sneaker industry. Pending its release, A$AP’s partnership may revamp the brand into something as tasteful as his own fashion, should Vans maintain the same refined style.