Following Neil Barrett’s Fall/Winter 2020 runway announcement this past January in Milan, today the celebrated menswear designer officially launches the first output from his collaboration with pioneering sportswear label, Li-Ning.

Uniting his trademark minimalist aesthetic with the athletic brand’s innovative, high-tech manufacturing, the resulting Li-Ning x Neil Barrett ESSENCE footwear model marries the signature strengths of both partners and is described by Barrett as “an essential component” of today’s new, modern uniform.

First launched in 2018, the Li-Ning ESSENCE was inspired by clean, purposeful design, ultimately lending the silhouette its name. This distilled, streamlined approach was evident in the lightweight shoe’s simplified sock-like construction and direct, almost austere sensibility. Neil Barrett’s vision for the style retains the original’s straightforward, essentialist design ethos, focusing on highly functional hardware details and a color palette of versatile, neutral tones.