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AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato
The front window at a Gucci store.

The sneaker is the new “it” bag

It’s an open secret in the luxury business that clothes, despite being central to brands’ images and the focus of their flashy runway shows, aren’t where the money is. That job, traditionally, has fallen to accessories, especially items such as so-called “It” bags—those recognizable, signature products such as the Chanel 2.55 or Louis Vuitton Speedy that are as much about showing off status as function.

Today, right alongside them are a growing number of sneakers.

As the sneaker market has grown, luxury brands have sought to cash in by introducing sneaker styles that are as much signature products as the brands’ handbags. Louis Vuitton has the Archlight and the LV Trainer. Prada has its Cloudbust. Gucci has the Rhyton, and for the really adventurous, the Flashtrek. Balenciaga, one of the brands most successfully capitalizing on the trend, has its sock-like Speed Trainers and the gargantuan Triple S. The list goes on.

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