How Japanese Sneakers are changing the American Streetwear Aesthetic

    Written By: Akemi Hayashi

    The Japanese sneaker designers are beginning to revolutionize the American streetwear aesthetic by making only a few subtle adjustments. However, their ability to perceive the American sneaker culture is unmatched. Some claim that their amazing sneaker designs stem mainly from their unearthly understanding of the American culture. Their fascination with the American culture made them dig deep into all the intricate details of regular American sneakers.

    It is this knowledge, passion, and obsession with the American sneaker culture, which allows the Japanese fashion industry to reinvent sneakers that Americans gravitate towards. They have a clear and sound understanding of American taste in terms of sneakers. Hence, the rapid influence of Japanese sneakers is starting to shape and slowly take-over the American sneaker culture.


    The Japanese Reinvention

    The Japanese have always had an eye for different cultures around the world. Their infatuation with different cultures and their unique designs play a huge part in sneaker reinvention. Another aspect of the Japanese culture that has led them to sneaker success is their focus and attention to detail. Their keen attention to detail and brilliant artistry allow them to recreate sneakers that have become popular worldwide. The Japanese people put product quality as a top priority; therefore, their sneakers are flawless and durable.

    How did the Japanese Sneaker Reinvention Begin?

    It all started with their infatuation with American street culture. America is, to this day, the epicenter of all fashion trends in the world. In terms of street culture, it is a dominant force in setting trends. This is because of the influential hip-hop artists in the US. Just like any other fans, the Japanese fascination with classic American sneakers such as Jordan’s, Vans, or Denim made them interested in the product.

    However, according to a renowned sneaker designer, the American sneakers were a tad too big for the Japanese people. Therefore, sneaker designers made subtle changes in the overall design of the sneakers so that they could match the Japanese silhouette. Hence, when you look at Japanese sneakers, it is incredibly difficult to tell the difference.

    The detailing stays the same; however, there are slight changes in the shapes. The Japanese understood how even the smallest of changes could make a huge difference in the fashion industry. Hence, the Japanese used their eye for detail and artisanship to become the second biggest sneaker capital of the world.

    The Japanese Sneaker Industry Today

    In today’s world, the Japanese sneaker industry begins to redesign, reinvent, and revamp American sneakers in collaboration with American sneaker brands. For instance, they recently did a revamp of the Nike Air Force 1, which is one of the most classic and popular sneakers of all time. The KITH air force is one of the most exclusive Japanese kicks of all time in the year 2020 because of the Coronavirus.

    This piece of the exclusive sneakers, among others, is just an example of how the Japanese sneaker designers manage to modernize the overall look of old successful sneakers without changing the essential features of the shoe. Their ability to recreate a sneaker in a way that does not harm any of its essential features is inspirational.


    The collaborative efforts of Japanese sneaker designers reinvent classic sneakers in the most sophisticated way. By respecting the sneaker’s true essence, they do not go overboard on the design. Instead, they make subtle changes that do not overwhelm but highlight the original model in contemporary fashion. By elevating the shoe with the incorporation of subtle details and better material, the Japanese sneaker market is undoubtedly beginning to change the American streetwear aesthetic.

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