The 50 Best Sneaker Collaborations in Nike Historical past

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Nike x ESPO Air Pressure II Low

2004

It took quite a lot of convincing for Nike to let Stephen “ESPO” Powers make the corporate’s first-ever see-through shoe. “Nike’s within the enterprise of efficiency,” the road artist says, and his idea of an invisible all-plastic sneaker didn’t fairly jell with that. “I steered it again to their consolation zone by saying it was going to be a efficiency shoe, however it will be performing as artwork.” Even then, Powers remembers, Nike’s first draft was solely partially plastic. “I mentioned, ‘Come on. If Jellies can do it, why can’t Nike?’” Ultimately, Powers and Nike landed on a design that balanced massive clear panels with authentic ESPO paintings, and got here with a particular pair of socks besides. As happy with the completed product as he’s, Powers admits Nike might need had some extent in regards to the efficiency. “Inside two blocks, the plastic was reducing my toes,” he says. “These sneakers went again into the field and I by no means wore them once more.”

Nike x Union Air Pressure 180

2005

Union’s tackle the Air Pressure 180—designed by the influential L.A. boutique’s then supervisor (and present proprietor) Chris Gibbs—reads like a time capsule of streetwear’s aughts heyday. “I used to be recent off the boat from NYC and heavy into ‘90s basketball silhouettes, so I gravitated in direction of the 180 as a result of it was a fantastic consultant of that period I cherished a lot,” Gibbs says. “Streetwear was a insurrection towards the style business at massive, which generally solely performed in blacks and navies, so I wished the colours to be in distinction to that. I took the camo from my favourite jacket and altered the colours round to be extra playful. It was in all probability impressed by Bape, who was doing quite a lot of that on the time.”

Nike SB x Staple NYC Dunk Low Professional “Pigeon”

2005

When Nike SB tapped Jeff Staple to design a New York-inspired Dunk, he cycled by all the apparent references. “We considered a Statue of Liberty Dunk,” Staple says. “A subway Dunk. A taxi Dunk. Ultimately, we determined that the pigeon was the unofficial mascot of New York Metropolis. Not everybody would get it, however the individuals who lived and breathed right here would.” Not solely did they get it—they wished it ravenously. The discharge of Staple’s Dunks, doused in feathery grey suedes with an embroidered pigeon alongside the heel, precipitated a riot exterior of his Reed Area boutique within the Decrease East Facet. For a lot of mainstream America, the shoe served as their introduction to the rising hysteria of sneaker tradition. “SNEAKER FRENZY,” the entrance web page of the New York Put up famously learn the following morning. “HOT SHOE SPARKS RUCKUS.”

Nike SB Zoom Air Paul Rodriguez 1

2005

Paul Rodriguez Jr. grew up obsessive about Nike, however when the Swoosh first approached the rising skateboarder a couple of potential sponsorship, he balked. “At first, Nike wasn’t planning on making signature sneakers for skate, and that was a dealbreaker for me,” Rodriguez says. Ultimately, the model modified its tune and granted P-Rod the primary SB professional mannequin—a retro-inflected low-top with a quilted leather-based heel and full Zoom Air cushioning. “I’m simply joyful that my teenage self stood his floor and caught to his dream.”

Nike x Stash Air Max 95

2006

Graffiti legend Stash was considered one of Nike’s first and most necessary non-athlete collaborators, paving the best way for colleagues like Futura to get entangled with the Swoosh quickly after. He launched his trademark tonal blue palette on an Air Traditional BW in 2003, however the colorway hit its high-water mark three years later when Stash utilized it as a gradient to the cascading stripes on the Air Max 95. The 95 is considered one of his favorites, Stash says, “as a result of look how fucking crack it got here out. Probably the greatest sneakers ever made to this present day. You do not have to the touch it. That is a kind of ‘If it ain’t broke, do not repair it’ fashions.”

Nike x CLOT Air Max 1 Kiss of Loss of life

2006

Hong Kong streetwear stalwart CLOT’s mission is to bridge the East and West by thoughtfully designed items. And its Kiss of Loss of life Air Max 1—the primary in a protracted lineage of Nike collaborations—succeeds at that swimmingly. Impressed by conventional Chinese language medication, the clear toe field (as in you possibly can see the tops of your toes whereas sporting them) reveals an acupuncture chart on the insole, whereas the outsole is printed with a diagram outlining the strain factors of the foot.

Nike x Bobbito Garcia Air Pressure 1 Low Premium ’07

2007

Few Nike collaborators earned their very own shoe greater than did Bobbito Garcia, the New York street-ball people hero, DJ, documentarian, writer, and O.G. steward of sneakerhead tradition. His Air Pressure 1 is blessed with a stunning mixture of suede, leather-based, and mesh alongside nods to Garcia’s passions for vinyl data and basketball.

Nike SB x Dinosaur Jr. Dunk Excessive Professional

2007

Dinosaur Jr. frontman J Mascis’s Dunk Excessive Professional is the epitome of a easy concept executed flawlessly. “I wished it to appear to be Ace Frehley’s silver platform house boots from Kiss,” he says. Mission completed. Doused in gleaming metallic silver with brilliant violet accents and the band’s brand and mascot stamped on the edges, the shoe was an instantaneous grail that earned Mascis followers nicely past his common listeners. “Individuals will come up and discuss to me in regards to the sneakers and do not know I’m in a band,” he says.

Nike Air Max LeBron VII

2009

“You don’t ever really know when it’s prepared till you do the lab take a look at your self,” LeBron James says of his signature sneakers. Which is sensible when you think about all that’s required of them to maintain up with the best participant of his technology. “What’s robust with LeBron is that he’s superhuman,” says Nike’s Tony Bignell. “He is so highly effective that every part is stiffer, tighter, tougher, firmer. How do you make one thing work nice for him—and work for the children who’re taking part in within the sneakers too?”

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