The Luxe Sneaker

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So common is sportswear as daily wear, it has a special word: “athleisure”. And it’s booming. The greatest athleisure talisman is the training shoe, which has always had a bit of cachet since it emerged as a streetwear fashion item in the 1970s. These days sneakers are also viewed as exclusive after-party wear – with prices to match. Valentino’s elastic band sneaker, pictured, is at the reasonable end of the market, at about $600. You can drop $3K on Fendi’s Monster Python Leather High-Tops. Stefano Ricci’s suede and croc trim sneakers run to $6,470, while Rick Owens’ Faun Geobasket shoes, made from alligator leather, are about $8,500. Meanwhile, there’s a battle to be the most expensive sneaker, a record currently held by The Fire Monkey, designed by Bicion and Mache Custom Kicks. Priced at $4m, they’re a glittering symphony of diamonds and sapphires with a solid-gold tag. But what type of occasion are top-end sneakers for? They could be for state visits – Cara Delevingne wore Pumas to the White House – or they could equally be for the office or coffee bar. Whatever the event, a pair of thousand-buck sneakers is more likely to be “leisure” than “ath”.