When it comes to fashion, hip-hop has always made its own lane, with each decade being marked by an iconic and distinctive style. From B-boys in tracksuits and shell toes in the ’70s, heavy gold chains and high tops in the ’80s, to baggy jeans coupled with classic Lugz boots in the ’90s, fashion—footwear, in particular—has served as a key element in the identity of the culture and those who live and breathe it.
While today’s trends are marked by rock star aesthetics and designer footwear, Lugz has remained timeless and forever rooted in street culture. In celebration of their 25th anniversary, the brand continues to cement its place as an icon in footwear with the second release of one of their classic silhouettes, the Dot Com 2.0. Originally hitting the retail market in 2000, the unisex sneaker-boot hybrid was chunky long before the current chunky shoe wave. Just like the original, the 2.0 isn’t about chasing trends but all about maintaining authenticity. Ultimately, that’s what sets Lugz apart from the rest. The brand isn’t just designed with hip-hop and street style in mind, it’s rooted in the culture and has been from the very beginning.
Lugz made its commercial debut via a print ad in a 1993 issue of The Source magazine, which is often regarded as the “Hip-Hop Bible.” Offering high top lace-up boots at an affordable price point, B-boys and B-girls quickly gravitated towards the then-freshman footwear brand. With a heavy presence in metropolitan areas like New York City and Chicago, Lugz established itself as a brand that was “built for the streets” and backed by some of hip-hop’s hottest artists. Some of the earlier ads featured rap all-stars like Erick Sermon, Redman, Snoop Dogg, Keith Murray, Kid Capri, AZ, and even D’Angelo.
As the brand’s acclaim and notoriety continued to grow, so did their portfolio. Lugz introduced their Athletics line in 1996, debuting a sleek white high top sneaker with their signature chunky sole that was enhanced with a clear gum bottom. During this time, Lugz also became a headline sponsor for the WWE, getting regular on-air spotlights between matches. Meanwhile their apparel line expanded, making appearances in music videos, and was even sported by Will Smith in a classic episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. This paved the way for the debut of the original Dot Com, which went on to sell more than 5.5 million pairs over the years. The 2.0 is poised to continue that success story by delivering another rugged yet comfortable shoe that speaks to the brand’s rich history.
Time and time again, Lugz has proven that when it comes to shoes and street style, they get it. The brand has shown itself to be resilient in the ever-changing landscape of fashion and footwear, having further solidified its place in the scene by collaborating with up-and-coming streetwear brands like Montreal-based label, Atelier New Regime, and New York-based, music-centric brands like Fool’s Gold Records and woman-owned Married to the Mob. Always ahead of the curve, Lugz partnered with MMA fighters way back in 2009 to introduce a line of low top sneakers embellished with graffiti art, which were later sported by mixed martial arts champion fighters Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, and Cain Velasquez, to name a few. They even enlisted Funkmaster Flex as an ambassador, which spawned a wildly successful urban driving collection. Their most iconic partnership, however, has been with Cash Money Records CEO/artist, Bryan “Birdman” Williams, a long time ambassador for the brand, who has his own popular series of sneakers and boots dubbed “The Birdman Collection.”
"The brand isn’t just designed with hip-hop and street style in mind, it’s rooted in the culture and has been from the very beginning."
Since its debut 25 years ago, Lugz has been a quiet but ever-present force in street style, putting out fashionable wear that’s sleek enough to set their consumer apart from the rest yet tough enough to make it on the streets. As high-end designers debuted their collections last spring, classic, thick-soled sneakers with sleek silhouettes paired with luxury wear that transition easily from day to night were thrust into the spotlight. Dubbed “Dad Shoes,” they were, in essence, a couture take on what Lugz started decades ago with the Dot Com shoe.
The newly released Dot Com 2.0 ups the ante on its predecessor as a unisex, retro-inspired take on the classic that is of-the-moment and offered in a range of colorways in neutral tones that are perfect for every occasion. Sneakerheads will appreciate the brand’s authentic roots in hip-hop and streetwear culture, and novices will appreciate the simplicity, versatility, and durability of the shoe that Lugz has come to be known for. As the symbiotic relationship between hip-hop and fashion continues to evolve, two things remain true: authenticity will always be at the forefront of good music and iconic street style, and the foundation for any look will always begin and end with the shoes.