Naomi Osaka always serves up major style on the court, but her footwear at the 2022 Australian Open comes with an added sentimental touch. For her big return to tennis since taking a mental health break from the sport in June 2021, the 24-year-old athlete brought along a good luck charm in the form of butterfly-themed sneakers. While facing off against and ultimately defeating Camila Osorio on Nov. 17 and Madison Brengle on Nov. 19, Osaka wore two different pairs of Nikes featuring a design that mimics butterfly wings — one orange, the other light blue, pink, and purple. The shoes are a callback to when a monarch butterfly famously landed on her leg and face as battled it out against Tunisian player Ons Jabeur at the Australian Open last year.
In a recent Instagram post, Osaka explained how the winged insect holds a deep meaning for her mother. “Her family believed butterflies to carry the souls of our ancestors, and for sure it was one of them as that monarch butterfly that day,” she explained. Seeing as the defending champion has her own Nike apparel and footwear collection, we’re hoping the brand winds up releasing the sneakers for purchase in the near future, perhaps with even more color choices. Read ahead to zoom all the way in on Osaka’s statement-making shoes as she crushes the Australian Open competition.