Luxury fashion brand Off-White ventures into basketball footwear with "The Baller"

Off-White debuts "The Baller", a game-changing basketball shoe at Milan Fashion Week.
Designer Virgil Abloh Passes Away As His Work Is Celebrated In Miami
Designer Virgil Abloh Passes Away As His Work Is Celebrated In Miami / Joe Raedle/GettyImages

Off-White, the luxury fashion brand known for its high-end streetwear designs recently debuted its latest creation at Milan Fashion Week 2024 - a basketball sneaker aptly named "The Baller". As was the mission statement of Off-White by its late founder, Virgil Abloh, "The Baller" encompasses the usual Off-White philosophy, with a truly in-your-face design and catchy word engravings across the shoes. It's not every day you see a pair of basketball shoes that looks like an actual basketball.

Like any ol' basic Spalding or Wilson basketball, "The Baller" has that same grainy leather texture, with black rubber distinguished lines, and of course, numerous Off-White trademarks throughout. As is common with Off-White footwear, there are significant phrases that embody the character of these sneakers, "The Baller" contains "AUTOGRAPH HERE" and "FOR ANKLE BREAKERS ONLY". Of course, respectively refer to the practice of getting basketball players to sign fan sneakers, and the term 'ankle breaker' where a player uses shifty dribble moves to confuse an opposing defender, thus 'breaking their ankles'.

Off-White's newest project, "The Baller" has the sneaker community torn on opinions.

The initial social media response to the Off-White "Ballers" could be described as divided at best. Some enjoyed the shoe's inspired look of a basketball, while many others described the shoe as an insult to Virgil Abloh's legacy and looked more so like a pair of AND1s, reworked Adidas T-Mac, or Starbury's. Despite the brand's desire to appeal to all, Off-White certainly has a niche market and target demographic, so this type of polarizing response is not surprising.

There has yet to be official confirmation whether or not "The Baller" is intended to be an on-court basketball shoe or more so a casual wear basketball sneaker, as is usually the case with Off-White footwear. The shoe looks quite clunky in the initial photos to come out, as it also looks to be missing adequate holes for foot breathing.

And given the high price tag that comes with an Off-White branded item, it's highly unlikely "The Baller" will be worn by any professional basketball players on the hardwood. But as a statement piece off-court, "The Baller" will surely be worn by some high-profile athletes and celebrities looking to showcase their unique look.