The 40-year-old has been dominating the sport in four different decades and has decided to hang up her kicks for the last time once the US Open comes to a close. Her pure talent landed her a deal with Nike, which led to her stunting in sneakers many times over the years.
After all, who else collabs with Virgil Abloh and gets a custom pair of Air Jordan 1s from Michael Jordan himself after beating their sister to win the Australian Open?
More than the dedication it took her to get to the top of the sport, the occasion was even more momentous because it was her 23rd Grand Slam. And real ones know how much that number means to His Airness.
“Winning is hard. It takes years of hard work, mental toughness, and a willingness to accept the fact that you hate to lose. Congrats with much respect on winning number 23. It would be a privilege to keep watching your determination on the court. Your friend, Michael Jordan,” read the personal note attached to the elaborate box.
But that’s just the beginning. To celebrate Serena’s forthcoming retirement, we gathered some of her best sneaker moments below.
1. Off-White at the 2018 US OpenSource:Getty
Serena Williams continuously stunted in her Virgil Abloh-inspired kicks that were made for the tennis court. One of the cleanest was the NikeCourt Flare that she had outfitted in a soft lavender color. The detailing made the customs event better with the words “QUEEN” and “SERENA” etched on the outsole and the infamous double-crossed arrows printed on the inside corner panel. The glittered heel counter set them off perfectly.
2. Air Jordan 1 Court Flare “Bred” At 2017 Australian OpenSource:Getty
Air Jordan 1 “Breds” are iconic, no matter the competitive landscape. So it was no surprise when Serena donned another GOAT’s sneakers while accepting the championship trophy after beating her sister Venus in the women’s singles finals of the 2017 Australian Open. For added comfort and traction, the traditional sole is swapped for that of the Nike Flare, and an ankle strap is included for better protection.
3. Iced Out Nike Cortex at Her 2017 Wedding
Serena continues to prove that wearing sneakers to your wedding can be epic if done the right way. Williams tied the knot with Reddit co-founder Alex Ohanian in 2017 and did it while rocking a pair of Nike Cortez covered in Swarovski crystals. The swoosh stands out in a tan colorway, while the rest of the sneaker is grey and white, which matched with all three of the gowns she wore that night.
4. Off-White x Nike “QUEEN” Collection
While we never got to see Serena rock much of her Off-White collection, having Virgil Abloh and Nike come together to collaborate in your name is utterly impressive.
Dubbed the “Queen” collection, in 2018, Nike released a NikeCourt Flare 2, Air Max 97, and Nike Blazer Mid. Both of the latter silhouettes featured grey uppers, black swooshes, and a midsole that had a gradient of pink, purple, and grey. And of course, Off White’s signature zip tie was present in an electric lime just like a tennis ball.
5. Nike Air Force 1 Collection ahead of 2022 US Open
In true GOAT fashion, Serena’s retirement announcement means that every match is a moment in her farewell tour. As fans bid her adieu, her long-time sponsor Nike put together a special care package for her, remembering some of her most iconic moments on the court.
Williams received a bunch of Air Force 1s for the occasion, including a pair made of denim, nodding to the denim skirt she wore during the 2004 US Open. One of her favorites in the bunch is a royal purple, black, and neon pink pair which pays homage to the one-legged catsuit she rocked at the 2021 Australian Open in honor of legendary Olympic sprinter Florence Griffith Joyner.