Dominican designer and artist Andy Martinez has taken the fashion industry to new heights by creating the Cowboy Air Force 1s, a design merging cowboy boots and Nike sneakers similar to the footwear late Louis Vuitton creative director Virgil Abloh released in 2021.

According to mitú, Abloh’s Western-inspired LV Trainer Sneaker Boot gained much attraction as the fashion industry prepared for the highly anticipated shoe line. However, Martinez’s shoes were debuting around the same time, and he told his social media followers about it.

“[Abloh], dropped that boot around the same exact time that I came up with the idea to put out mine. So people were kind of talking about it,” he said in a statement provided by mitú. “I posted [my shoes] as an homage and a little nod to him, since his boot was coming out and was floating around the internet, so I captioned it, Virgil Abloh Español.”


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A post shared by Andy Martinez / &e (@0831am)

The New York native branded the Cowboy Air Force 1s as “&e Boot,” with the “&” symbolizing the “and” in Andy, per mitú. Martinez also hand-makes each design himself at his New York City studio.

Martinez developed an interest in cowboy boots and initially designed them for himself. However, he started brainstorming and found a way to show off the top part of the boot, which usually goes underneath jeans or other types of clothing.

“You put your jeans over the boots half the time. So I was like, ‘What would be the best way for me to celebrate the top part of this boot?'” he explained.

During the early stages of his design, Martinez recalled being ridiculed in public while wearing the Cowboy Air Force 1 boots.

“In the beginning, people were just like, no please don’t blah, blah… and ‘is this even real?'” he said, recalling the times he received mixed reactions to his creation.

“I’ve had eggs thrown at me from buildings, when people saw me walk by in my boots in the very beginning,” he said. “Once, [I was inside a store] and a gang of dudes ran in and [started yelling, pointing and laughing]. I was scared for my life.”

Martinez did not allow others’ opinions to stop him from creating his shoe line. He officially announced the Cowboy Air Force 1s unintentionally around the same time as Abloh’s Louis Vuitton cowboy boot, according to mitú.

His ‘Virgil Abloh Español’ post quickly gained recognition online as fashion experts and celebrities praised him for shedding light on cowboy-inspired footwear.

“All these sneaker pages and all these [cutlure] pages were posting about them, and there was like a spotlight,” he said. “It was like something that you would pay a PR person for, but I figured out a way to like…hack the internet.”

While the Cowboy Air Force 1s are his most popular style, Martinez has other designs, including Air Force 1s with the top part of the Converse Chuck Taylor and his recent design with the Air Force 1 attached to the top of an Ugg boot.

As a Dominican born and raised in New York City’s Washington Heights, Martinez said he would have created his unique shoe design whether he lived there or in his native Dominican Republic.

“I feel like I would have gotten this idea of whether or not I lived [in New York]. I would have been the same person whether my parents never made the jump to New York and lived in the Dominican Republic,” he shared. “It would obviously be a little different…or a lot different because of my surroundings but, I feel like I was always the same kid from the jump.”