This Male Ballet Dancer Has a Luxury Sneaker Inspired By His Fancy Footwork

Luxury sneaker brand Koio is doing some fancy footwork these days. As part of its Collective series of collaborations with artists and changemakers, the company is launching a limited-edition series with American Ballet Theatre principal dancer James Whiteside.
The single unisex lace-up sneaker, made in Italy, is inspired by Whiteside’s dance background. Available for sale online starting today, it will also be available in Koio’s New York store on Dec. 9. The sneaker retails for $298.
Here, Whiteside talks about his new role as shoe designer, his personal style and his favorite dance moments.
Why the decision to partner with Koio?
“I wear sneakers pretty much every day. They approached me to collaborate, and I was excited [since] they do such beautiful work. They were [also] open to hearing what I thought.”
How involved were you in the shoes’ design?
“I went to [Koio’s] New York store and chatted [with its team]. I needed to reference ballet, and old ballet shoes are made of satin. Originally, I thought [a light color] would be beautiful, but it would get destroyed quickly. So I thought of a practical choice and came up with a hearty burgundy. To add a bit more personal flair, we adapted my tattoo — four [claw]

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