The 50 Greatest Sneaker Collaborations In Nike History

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This shoe, of course, ended up being just as iconic as the album – thanks in large part to Kanye’s careful attention to detail. “We don’t want anything mall“, Kanye told VanHook, who notes, “It couldn’t be basic, it couldn’t be cheap. “

NikeCraft Mars Yard 1.0

2012

Tom Sachs is embarrassed by the hype of his Nike sneakers. “When I first got involved with Nike, the motivation was to make a sculpture for everyone,” explains the artist. “So when it got so coveted, it was really boring.” The appeal is obvious: the shoe is packed with rare technology meant for serious use.

“I gave a pair to a friend who later asked, ‘Oh, do I get the new ones too?’ And I said, “No, because the Mars Yards are still in the box on your mantel, so you didn’t pass the test.” Another friend of mine wore them to death, put a new sole, patched them up – and that friend gets a lifetime supply.

Nike KD 6

2013

Kevin Durant’s signature sixth trainer used a low-top, football-shoe-like cut and asymmetrical lacing for an extra-close fit and improved lateral quickness. These unusual details made the KD 6 one of the most distinctive and instantly recognizable basketball shoes of its era, and the easily printable synthetic upper lent itself well to a host of memorable colorways, from Aunt Pearl makeup covered in paint splatter rose. Texas version, inspired by his old university.

Nike x Riccardo Tisci Air Force 1 SP Shoe

2014

“How can I work on something so iconic?” Riccardo Tisci asked Fraser Cooke when the then-Givenchy designer was getting ready to put his spin on the Air Force 1. “He described it as the Hermès Kelly shoe bag,” Cooke recalls. “He was afraid of destroying this thing he had so much respect for.” Despite these fears, Tisci still took a radical approach to the shoe, adding a boot-inspired leather collar that extended to the knee.

Nike x Acronym Lunar Force 1

2015

When Nike approached designer Acronym Errolson Hugh to collaborate on the Lunar Force 1, he had just one question. “I said, ‘Yes, we will, but you know we don’t just want to change the color, right?’ ”

A few weeks later, a crate of shoes arrived at Acronym’s Berlin workshop. “We got out the scissors and the tape, and just went to town,” recalls Hugh. They opened the shoe on one side and added a black zipper. “We wanted to treat what we did to the shoe as an intervention,” he says.

This approach made the Lunar Force 1 one of the most controversial sneakers of the time. “People would stop my friends on the street and say, ‘Yo, did you do this yourself? Why did you destroy your Nikes? Or like, ‘Where did you find them?’ You can really tell the kind of philosophical outlook someone had by how they reacted to this shoe.

Nike x Off White Air Presto

2017

Virgil Abloh worked fast. The Ten, his first visionary shoe collection with Nike – a literal deconstruction of 10 classic Swoosh shoes – was produced in record time. The first five models of The Ten, including this standout version of the Air Presto, came together after just five hours of workshop time, says Shamees Aden, a Nike designer who worked on the project. “It was an incredibly hands-on session. We certainly knew we were on the right track, but I still couldn’t imagine the impact these sneakers would have on the world. They are works of art.

Nike x Sean Wotherspoon Air Max 1/97

2017

In 2017, Nike commissioned a dozen creatives to design their own Air Max model and let fans vote on which shoe they wanted to see produced. Sean Wotherspoon, co-founder of vintage store Round Two, read the rules carefully. “One of the big things was getting your community involved,” he says. So he gathered his friends — including A$AP Nast and jeweler Ben Baller — to help design his corduroy hybrid. “It literally changed my life,” says Wotherspoon.

Nike x Undefeated Zoom Kobe 1 Protro

2018

To help launch the Zoom Kobe 1 Protro – a remastered version of Kobe’s kicks from 2006 for the modern game – Nike asked sneaker outpost LA Undefeated, one of the Swoosh’s longest-serving collaborators. , to give its touch to the silhouette. The store decorated the shoe with several different shades of camouflage, including a gold and purple version worn by LeBron in his first appearance as a Laker. “It reflects Kobe’s mentality,” says Fred Lozano, chief operating officer of Undefeated. “When you are in the field, you are at war.”

Nike x Martine Rose Air Monarch IV

2019

The Air Monarch IVs are your dad’s Nikes: clunky, sterile and very uncool. In the hands of superstar London designer Martine Rose, however, they blossomed into a beacon of postmodern funk. “[Rose] was looking at how athletes’ feet, due to impact during games, can deform,” says Nike designer Andy Caine. To mimic this phenomenon, Rose amplified the unsightly proportions of the monarch into something more amorphous and sculptural, then coated it in pink Pepto Bismol.

Nike x Cactus Plant Flea Market Air VaporMax 2019

2019

It’s not often that an outside collaborator brings a working prototype to their first Nike meeting, but that’s precisely what Cactus Plant Flea Market designer Cynthia Lu did with her version of the Air VaporMax 2019. “It was one of those moments,” Andy Caine says. , “where you walk in and see this for the first time and you go there, wow. I was not mentally prepared for this. Lu’s handmade mockup — complete with its tubular swoosh and bubble lettering — ended up going into production with almost no modifications. “Cynthia brought almost the opposite of what was successful in VaporMax” – imposing her whimsical aesthetic on a sleek silhouette – “and it connected in such a humanistic way. That’s why collaborations are so powerful, because they bring that different mindset. That’s the magic of it.

Nike x Ambush Air Max 180

2019

When she first met Nike, Yoon Ahn shyly admitted that she wasn’t really an athlete. “I had this impression that you had to play sports to collaborate with Nike,” says Ahn, founder of Ambush and designer of Dior Men jewelry. “They said, ‘It’s okay, that’s not why we want to work with you’.” Air Zoom Flight by Gary Payton The glove.

Nike x MMW Free TR 3 Flyknit SP

2019

Do you know how sometimes you have to carry around an extra pair of indoor shoes all day because you’re going to the gym after work? Matthew M Williams, founder of Alyx and creative director of Givenchy, had a solution. For his first Nike trainer, Williams used Vibram’s outsole savants to create a removable rubber cleat for hitting the streets. Unclip it from the velcro and you’ll find a futuristic, high-performance trainer with track-style speed laces and molded sci-fi overlays.

Nike x Sacai LDV Waffle

2019

Sacai founder Chitose Abe made a name for herself on mash-ups – military flight jackets fused with cotton button-ups; chinos spliced ​​with a nylon tracksuit bottom. So it only made sense for the Japanese designer to bring this “Frankensteined” approach to her Nike sneakers. The double swooshed LDV Waffle, an elevated and forward-thinking mix of the Old School Long Distance Vector and Waffle Racer models. “You can tell they’re Nike-based,” says Abe, “but the silhouette and the design work shows Sacai’s ideas and identity.”


2020s

Nike SB x Ben & Jerry’s Dunk Low Pro

2020

“I had a friend at Nike SB, and he texted me, ‘How about a collab?’ “, says Jay Curley, global head of integrated marketing at Ben & Jerry’s. “I’d like to say it was a much deeper thought than that, but I really don’t think it was. the wackiest shoe of 2020 was born. Affectionately nicknamed the Chunky Dunky, the low-top SB Dunk came smothered in Ben & Jerry’s iconography: hairy cow print, stitched clouds, and lots of tie-dye for good measure. Despite its clumsiness, the shoe was a surprise hit, reselling for thousands of dollars online and appearing on the feet of unlikely fans like Quavo and Killer Mike. What do the eponymous ice cream moguls think of the kicks?” Ben and Jerry each have a pair,” Curley explains. “I’ve never seen them wear them, but I think they thought they were cool.”

Nike Zoom x Alphafly Next%

2020

When Eliud Kipchoge ran the world’s first marathon under two hours in October 2019, it was hailed as a remarkable feat of individual speed. But to get to this moment, hundreds of Nike scientists, designers and engineers worked closely with him for years to develop a prototype for a revolutionary new running shoe. “We needed a faster shoe,” says Kipchoge. “But above all, we needed more speed recovery. A shoe where you could run for three hours and then recover your muscles very quickly.

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