One of the most interesting elements of big sporting events is the impromptu catwalk shows the world’s biggest athletes inadvertently supply pre-game. These ultra-successful sportspeople love to flex on their fans and rivals, and try and outdo each other with wild (and sometimes worrisome) fashion choices.
Whether it’s LeBron contrasting his seersucker ‘pyjamas’ with Nike x Sacai sneakers or Rafael Nadal pairing an all-pink ensemble with a $750,000 Richard Mille, sometimes the fiercest contest isn’t what’s happening on the field but rather what’s in someone’s wardrobe.
Neymar Jr. is one of the most well-dressed footballers in recent memory. The young Brazilian forward never misses a chance to show off his sartorial flair – such as this outfit he was spotted in before the UEFA Champion’s League final, where the Paris Saint-Germain player somewhat incongruously paired a full suit and tie with some women’s sneakers.
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These Off-White x Nike Air Jordan 4 ‘Sail’ sneakers, a limited-edition collaboration with Louis Vuitton creative director and streetwear pioneer Virgil Abloh, have been some of the most hyped women’s sneakers in recent memories. Anything with an Abloh co-sign is in hot demand, but the combination of his trademark deconstructed aesthetic and the natural leather colour scheme on these creps have made them a standout among Virgil’s sneaker collabs.
Many sneakerheads were dismayed, then, when it was announced that perhaps the best Off-White x Nike collab ever was only available in women’s sizes – but it was a deliberate choice from Abloh, who was clearly making a statement about making sneaker culture more inclusive of female identities. Many sneakers aren’t made in women’s sizes – now the shoe’s on the other foot for the predominately male sneaker community (pun definitely intended).
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But Neymar’s demonstrated that if a shoe is cool enough, like these AJ4s, men will forget about gender boundaries – which we think was Abloh’s intention from the get-go. It also proves, despite the short man syndrome jokes, there are advantages to having small feet – a US 8, in Neymar’s case. On top of that, it shows if men stop worrying so much about gendered fashion they can open themselves up to a whole new world of style opportunities.
It’s not the first time Neymar’s delineated gender boundaries. He turned heads last year at a fragrance launch by wearing a full-length dress, paired with an ostentatious satin blazer and huge crucifix chain. Even more surprising – he made it look good.
Clearly Neymar just doesn’t give a sh*t and dresses however he wants, which we back 100%.