Alexander McQueen Sneakers

June 17, 2022

The Buyer's Guide: Alexander McQueen Sneakers

Ian Semivan

Ian is a content creator at StockX with a focus on trading cards and collectibles.

London luxury brand Alexander McQueen, recognized for setting trends within the world of high and mainstream fashion, their theatrical runway shows, and sophisticated footwear, is now available on StockX.

London luxury brand Alexander McQueen, recognized for setting trends within the world of high and mainstream fashion, their theatrical runway shows, and sophisticated footwear, is now available on StockX.

This article is part 32 of 31 in the series: StockX Buyer's Guides

Ever since it burst onto the scene three decades ago, Alexander McQueen has been known for its groundbreaking silhouettes, detailed tailoring, and gothic themes found throughout its collections season after season. The brand has helped to evolve what we expect from modern runway shows, while also influencing the fit and appearance of everyday apparel items. To fully understand the brand and its luxury offerings, to get the best sense of what to get and why, you must first understand the story behind its founder and the experiences that helped create the vision of Alexander McQueen and its line of sneakers. 

Alexander McQueen Sneakers

Photo of Alexander McQueen. Photo sourced by avvenice.

The late designer Lee Alexander McQueen and his eponymous brand have had major impacts on luxury fashion since 1992. The brand has become known for unusual designs that, “celebrate the value of English rural traditions, a sense of community and the touch of the hand, whilst simultaneously pushing the boundaries of fashion,” according to the luxury group Kering. Before the launch of his fashion house, McQueen moved from London’s Lewisham district to Mayfair at 16 and spent the next four years as an apprentice at several clothiers on Savile Row, the street famous for its traditional custom tailoring. It was during this time that Alexander McQueen honed his skills in the craft of bespoke men’s tailoring and took his first formal steps into the world of fashion. 

After building his skills through opportunities with Japanese designer Koji Tatsuno and Italian designer Romeo Gigli, McQueen would later return to London to earn his Masters of Arts in Fashion Design at the famed Central Saint Martins. It was there that McQueen commenced the Alexander McQueen Fashion House with his 1992 graduate collection inspired by 19th century British serial killer Jack the Ripper. The full collection was purchased by stylist Isabella Blow, who worked under both Anna Wintour and André Leon Talley at the US edition of Vogue.

Coat from Alexander McQueen's 1992 graduate collection.

Coat from Alexander McQueen's 1992 graduate collection entitled Jack the Ripper Stalks His Victims. Image by The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

After building his skills through opportunities with Japanese designer Koji Tatsuno and Italian designer Romeo Gigli, McQueen would later return to London to earn his Masters of Arts in Fashion Design at the famed Central Saint Martins. It was there that McQueen commenced the Alexander McQueen Fashion House with his 1992 graduate collection inspired by 19th century British serial killer Jack the Ripper. The full collection was purchased by stylist Isabella Blow, who worked under both Anna Wintour and André Leon Talley at the US edition of Vogue.

During its 30 year history, Alexander McQueen’s label has been heavily influenced by the history of Great Britain. The brand specifically favored the Victorian era and its gothic aesthetic, with the skull motif frequently featured on the fashion house’s pieces. His roots as a tailor remain the foundation of the Alexander McQueen label with garments that continuously play with traditional cuts and proportions. His designs have been credited with pushing the fashion industry forward, which is exemplified by his 1993 “Bumster Jeans”, a style that may have initiated the low-rise denim trend of the 1990s. 

Despite continuously finding himself at the pinnacle of the fashion world, the generational talent battled depression and anxiety for much of his life, leading to his tragic death in 2010. At that time, Sarah Burton, head of Alexander McQueen’s Womenswear efforts since 2000, took over as Creative Director of the house where she remains to this day. During her tenure, the brand has made waves in the luxury sneaker market with the introduction of the Alexander McQueen Oversized during the Spring/Summer 2015 season. The shoe quickly earned acclaim within the men’s fashion scene, resulting in a women’s edition shortly thereafter.

Alexander McQueen Sneakers Oversized Ivory Black

Alexander McQueen Oversized Ivory Black on foot. Image by Thread Source.

Under Burton’s leadership, Alexander McQueen has continued to progress its technical elements of fashion design, while staying true to the historical and natural elements that have been a guidepost since the beginning. 

Is Alexander McQueen a Luxury Brand?

Alexander McQueen’s upbringing within the celebrated tailoring community of London’s West End provided the designer with the intense training and focus needed to break through in the competitive world of luxury fashion. Of course, McQueen was able to earn early validation for his label when his 1992 graduate collection was purchased in its entirety by Vogue editor Isabella Blow.

While the brand’s runway shows continued to turn heads for their theatrical nature throughout the 1990s, Alexander McQueen’s status as a luxury brand was officially solidified in 2001 when The Gucci Group acquired a 51 percent stake in the company putting it on the same stage as Balenciaga and Yves Saint Laurent, among others. Over the course of Alexander McQueen’s three decade history, its designer pieces and sneakers have become staples of red carpet shows with celebrities such as Gisele Bunchen and Lady Gaga donning them at events like the MET Gala and the MTV VMAs, as well as Kate Middleton at her royal wedding to Prince William in 2012.   

Alexander McQueen Sneakers Oversized Black White

Alexander McQueen Oversized Black White

What Is so Special About Alexander McQueen Sneakers?

With their elegant and minimal uppers on maximal shoes, Alexander McQueen sneakers are incredibly wearable and can be dressed up or down with relatively little effort. The sneaker’s upper is constructed of a durable smooth calfskin leather that enables the shoe to hold its form over a long period of time, allowing them to exceed the lifespan of most other comparable luxury sneakers. Most pairs feature unique detailing with the words “Alexander McQueen” debossed on the heels in gold. And the 1.8-inch leather soles really set the shoe apart from its competition, as it offers a blend of comfort and unique style. The combination of premium leather and rubber makes Alexander McQueen sneakers easy to clean with soap, warm water, and a fine brush.

Are Alexander McQueen Sneakers Comfortable?

The thick rubber sole found on Alexander McQueen sneakers is soft and provides reliable cushioning, making them much more flexible than they look. True to their name in more ways than one, Alexander McQueen Oversized sneakers do run on the larger side as they sport a wide design making them versatile for many foot types. For this reason, we suggest purchasing a half size to a full size down depending on your personal preferences when it comes to fit. The premium leather that pads the back of the heel also minimizes friction against your foot with its super soft feel that helps to minimize any uncomfortable blistering from occurring.