A$AP Rocky doesn’t care if you hate his new sneaker with Under Armour, or if you think it hews a little too closely to the design of the Osiris D3. If you’re not a fan, it’s probably not for you anyway—and if you think it’s a straight-up copy of the chunky ’90s skate shoe, then you’re missing out on the full story.
We stopped by the shoe’s first release—500 pairs dropped at a Harlem “skate rave” on September 14—to ask about the new sneaker and a recent GQ story that spills the beans on a third collaborator who until now, only existed behind-the-scenes: Osiris D3 designer and legendary skater Dave Mayhew.
The D3 was Mayhew’s third shoe for Osiris, and according to an interview with Jenkem, the shoe’s popularity crested with ’90s subculture leaning towards technical skate shoes (with huge, puffy tongues) and exaggerated rave style. Mayhew designed the shoe to intentionally stand out, not wanting it to look like anything else out there. And after a few years of financial success, things didn’t end so well between him and Osiris.
No, Rocky doesn’t skate, but according to his GQ interview, he remembers growing up and seeing the recognizable D3 around the hood. And it piqued his interest as something he could likely pull off. Keep in mind, the Harlem-born artist is stylish enough that he can pretty much wear anything and make it look good, which is why it makes sense that he’d want to pick something so challenging to work into his repertoire. It isn’t a sneaker for the faint-of-heart, but neither is Rocky’s daring sense of personal style.
So it wasn’t just natural for him and AWGE to get Mayhew on board to design the shoe—it was essential to the overall story. Mayhew brings his skate credibility and simultaneously pays respects to the O.G. The result is an intentionally polarizing shoe for those who’d rather zag when everyone else is zigging. Rocky says the shoe is for “outcasts,” but at the same time it perfectly represents the burden of the early adopter—right now people may think it’s wack, but they’ll catch up in 3018.
The shoes released in a warehouse located on the corner of 151st street and Broadway in Harlem. The first floor featured a skate park featuring art from guys like Pauly Bonomelli, and sprawling two more floors to include a retail space and a dance floor for a rave. The overall vibe was reminiscent of the Foot Clan hideout from the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, which appropriately came out in the ’90s.
It was a paean to old New York warehouse parties and an era where youthful freedom was usually portrayed in a negative light, instead of highlighted for the sheer amount of positive energy present in such a thriving scene. Kids had been lining up for hours so they could have a chance to cop the shoes and experience the space for themselves.
Rocky showed up wearing a custom shirt from Cactus Plant Flea Market, customized AWGE x Under Armour pants, and a pair of his SRLos that were hand-painted with silver flames. There were a few customized pairs of both colorways (Triple Black, and Black/White/Black) that were up for grabs for the first few customers who came to the space.
The box of the shoes is reminiscent of the artwork on Rocky’s latest album, Testing, keeping with the black-and-yellow color scheme and crash test dummy-esque art direction. The chunky shoes are actually packaged in a way that requires two boxes, and come inside zippered bags secured to the box with bungee cords. Some boxes were put on display hanging above the space, paying homage to the multiple pairs of shoes you see hanging from New York City clotheslines, traffic lights, and just about anything they can be thrown over.
No “skate rave” is complete without the rave portion, and the party went on until 4 a.m., featuring a bevy of performances and DJ sets from artists like Kitty Cash. Check out more of what went down at the release in our galleries above.
Missed out on this release? They may be more pairs dropping soon, check out our AWGE x Under Armour SRLo hub page for more information.