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Lexus Taps 3D Artists for Sedan-Inspired Sneaker

Months after Porsche and Puma collaborated on a 500-pair collection of 911 Turbo-inspired footwear, luxury vehicle maker Lexus has unveiled its own motor-inspired sneaker.

The Toyota subsidiary tapped RTFKT, a creative collective community of more than 150 3D artists, to design the one-off shoe as part of its “All In” advertising campaign promoting the new 2021 Lexus IS.

“We wanted to create a sneaker that when someone looks at it, they’re immediately intrigued by it and all the intricate design elements come together and at a first glance it’s a neck-breaker,” Steven Zaptio, CEO and co-founder of RTFKT, said in a video created by Complex to document the sneaker creation process.

Zaptio and RTFKT creative director and co-founder Chris Le used a vibrant blue 2021 IS 350 F Sport Dynamic Handling Package as the inspiration for the sneaker. Based on the design of the Craig Green x Adidas Originals Graddfa AKH—chosen for its tire-like sole—the shoe channels many of the car’s features, from the front’s spindle grille to the carbon fiber spoiler on the back.

The 2021 Lexus IS 350 F Sport Dynamic Handling Package served as the inspiration for RTFKT's sneaker
2021 Lexus IS 350 F Sport Dynamic Handling Package Lexus

“We just want to make sure that when the audience looks at the sneaker they instantly know it’s the IS,” Le said.

On the front of the shoe, 3D-printed material imitates the vehicle’s signature spindle grille. The sides showcase Black NuLuxe leather with light gray stitching from the seats and a 3M silver stripe inspired by the headlights. On the back of the shoe, a 3D-printed material represents the IS’s carbon fiber spoiler. Other details include an F Sport branded tag on the side and a Lexus badge covering the shoes’ top Velcro straps.

RTFKT co-founders Steven Zaptio (left) and Chris Le (right) designed the 2021 Lexus IS-inspired sneaker
RTFKT co-founders Steven Zaptio (left) and Chris Le (right) designed the 2021 Lexus IS-inspired sneaker. Lexus

“Ideally, I would love to add every element of the Lexus onto the sneaker, but I want to cater the sneaker to a sneaker audience as well,” Le said. “We’re trying to mix the best of both worlds.”

RTFKT is a global collective focused on merging next-gen gaming and sneaker culture, creating one-of-a-kind products and experiences, from color-changing sneakers made from futuristic materials to digital-only virtual collectibles. Its special-edition sneaker inspired by the 2021 Lexus IS sport sedan will not be available for sale.

Puma’s Porsche collection drew on eight generations of the brand’s 911 Turbo sports car. Using its Future Rider and motorsport-inspired Speedcat silhouettes, the footwear brand created two collections, “Air-Cooled” and “Water-Cooled,” the former inspired by the first four generations of air-cooled 911 Turbos and the latter picking up four recent variants.