FULL COURT PRESS: Here’s a hype sneaker drop that also helps: Olivier Rousteing’s meticulous RED B-Court shoe for Balmain raises money for the Global Fund, whose fight against HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa is being complicated by the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Balmain, the advance of COVID-19 could cause AIDS-related deaths to double in the coming year as health systems become overwhelmed and treatment and prevention programs are disrupted.

With all that at stake, Rousteing admits he was obsessed “in making this special sneaker absolutely perfect. Yes, I’ll admit it: I was difficult, stubborn and unwilling to compromise.”

So much so that he incorporated many of the editing notes he scribbles on prototypes on the finished sneakers, which retail for $595.

“Finally, we all realized that the multitude of measures, markings and memos reflect our passion and commitment better any than press release ever could,” Rousteing said in a press release. “Balmain and I remain committed to being part of the generation that will be known for ending AIDS.”

The unisex sneakers are sold on Balmain’s web site, with 25 percent of all sales going to the Global Fund’s COVID-19 Response Mechanism. Through all its initiatives, the fund aims to raise $5 billion within the next year in order to fight COVID-19, protect health workers, and enable life-saving programs to remain open.

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